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.