09/15/2012 3:59PM

Thoroughbred Times ceases operations, in bankruptcy

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Thoroughbred Times, the semimonthly magazine that had a more than 100-year history through its predecessor, the Thoroughbred Record, was shuttered on Saturday and all 27 of its employees were laid off, according to Mark Simon, the editor of the magazine.

The magazine’s parent company, BowTie Incorporated, informed the employees that they were being fired via letter delivered by Federal Express on Saturday morning, Simon said. The Times’s Lexington office was locked and closed to the employees as of that morning, and the company has entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

BowTie, which bought Thoroughbred Times from Peter Brant as of Jan. 1, 1994, is owned by Norman Ridker, 74. Earlier this year, Ridker closed several of the other magazines published by BowTie.

“Basically, I came home this morning from the store and there was the letter on my doorstep,” Simon said. “It said that all of the employees were fired and that the company is now under Chapter 7. [Ridker’s] trying to keep BowTie alive, and at this juncture, he’s not able to keep open any publication that is not cash positive right now, today.”

Several freelance journalists and photographers have said over the past several months that the Times has been up to a year late in paying their bills. Simon said that the company had met payroll up until Saturday, but that it has had trouble “with accounts payable.” In July, the magazine abandoned its weekly format and started publishing twice a month.

“We had to cut expenses, and I thought we did a pretty good job with that,” Simon said. “If you want my honest opinion I’d have to say that the magazine has failed because Norman has sucked all of the assets from it over the past five years.”

Thoroughbred Times was started by Dick Broadbent in 1985 with Simon as editor-in-chief. Under Brant, the company merged with the Thoroughbred Record, which was later discontinued.

Along with the Blood-Horse, which is published by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Thoroughbred Times was one of two Lexington weeklies covering the racing and breeding industry.  

Roy More than 1 year ago
THE TB TIMES ARE JUST A SMALL PART OF THE THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY PROBLEM !!!!! ITS VERY SIMPLE AND NOBODY EVEN SAYS A WORD ABOUT IT !!!!!!! ADVERTISEMENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHERE CAN YOU SEE ONE THING ABOUT HORSE RACING EXCEPT AT A RACE TRACK , YOU SEE EVERY SPORT IN EVERY MAJOR RETAILER EXCEPT HORSE RACING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GIVE ME A BUDGET AND WE COULD BE BACK ON TOPPPPPP !!!! EASILY , THANKS HAVE A GRT DAY . ROY BLAND
Mike Bailey More than 1 year ago
The Thoroughbred Times was one of my favorite places to visit on the internet. For hours i could get lost it the pedigrees and family nicks of the Thoroughbred Horse. The Thoroughbred Times gave me the vessel to go back in time and visit some of the greatest horses and pedigree lines in history. It would be a great lost to all if they don"t return in some manner. Thank You Thoroughbred Times for the joy you have given me.
Kathy Mehrtens More than 1 year ago
the owners and trainers should help this maganize going this is their weekly paper too, let them try to keep it afloat.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Finger-pointing aside, it's a shame to see such a great publication disappear. Part of horse racing just died.
surekarma More than 1 year ago
Anonymous also "hope's the BowTie Jerk goes under" (posted 3 days ago). Yeah ... lets put a few hundred more people out of work. That will be a huge lift to the economic situation. Better yet ... let's shut down all the corporations and we can all become dependent on the government and receive equal stipends to support ourselves and families.
surekarma More than 1 year ago
Really anonymous. Would you be willing to continue pouring money into a failing enterprise? Thoroughbred Times was failing miserably. Simon was not just editor but also president and second in command of the now-defunct Thoroughbred Times. (see page 3 of the most recent issue). I find it interesting that he was surprised. I know some people inside the Times - and it is reported that ad revenues dropped as much as 80% since the recession. How long would you make it if you're income were cut back 80%? What would you get rid of? Ridker acquired the magazine in 1993 which at the time was also on the verge of financial ruin. Ridker brought Simon along as they worked to rebuild the publication. Sounds like Simon had a pretty good run of almost 20 years as head of the magazine under Ridker. I don't dispute his accomplishments as an editor - he's very good - but what about his accountability as president? I think it's less than genuine to blame the mess on a handful of employees from Bowtie. I have to believe there was more to the Times downfall than that. Facts are facts and Simon's tenure at the Times included a near bankruptcy before the Ridker acquisition and now the final fate of the magazine reported in the last few days. It's sad the way the employees were given the news ... I hope they recover soon. It's also somewhat offensive to see an industry not support one of the few voices they have - and then lament its passing.
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
So true....that nobody (NTRA etc.) was able to save this excelklent portal for racing and breeding just confirms that the ship is not only captainless and rudderless but about to run onto the rocks. N.B. Many of the rats have already abandoned this ship...Ridker might be considered to be one, but there are others (David Willmot, Tim Smith, Rick Baedeker, a thousand ex-Stronach employees and the likes of Charles Hayward, Terry Meyocks, Kenny Noe and host of other self-servers, for example) who have all contributed in one way or another to this sorry state of affairs....and the demise of our great sport.
HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
So sad
Ernie Belmonte More than 1 year ago
Yes it is
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a waste Norman Ridker, you sucked all the cash and left the Magazine pennyless. Thats how corporations are and why Governments are 16 trillion in debt, the guy at the top sucks it dry but the guy on welfare gets blamed.
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
Ponies Payne and Billy Wind,,,where do you think the DRF are going to get the money from? The truth is that they too are on life support, like the whole sport of thoroughbred racing in North America, and, with a circulation of around 65K they ain't goin' nowhere. Now...even in England the Racing Post, an excellent publication (both in print and on-line) only survives because Sheikh Mohammed subsidizes it: like so many other things that he does for the sport back in 'jolly old'. And we all know that a) the NTRA and Breeders' Cup are broke; The Jockey Club could only muster $1 million for its latest fiasco....and we don't have any benevolent Arabs around to bale us out. So the DRF is what its down to....Pretty sad, really.
walesfoodmusic More than 1 year ago
In light of the plug being pulled on such a quality read as the Times,one can only wonder how long it will be before the outstanding obligations of the DRF get called ?
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
The DRF can never die, as it is the best tool to get the past performances. I can see them going entirely as an online product at some point, but those racing booklets can never supply the information that the DRF provides.