from the Chief Operating Officer Passion, Commitment, and Selflessness These are among the core values that I continue to see amid many California horsemen – owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders – despite difficult conditions and structural changes we are enduring in these times. The passion, commitment and selflessness for the Thoroughbred horse and our sport are great motivators when properly directed. Certainly one horseman, or should I say horsewoman, who exhibits these values day in and day out is Marsha Naify, with whom I had the pleasure of working for the last three years. Marsha recently left the TOC as Chair of the Board, but her personal brand of incomparable work ethic and commitment to improve the condition of owners will be lasting in this organization. She originally ran for the board on a platform that included greater transparency and inclusion with other industry stakeholders. It was clear from the start that Marsha did not view her new director position as an honorary role. She immediately immersed herself with the passion and skills successfully employed in her other endeavors, such as real estate, political activity, and philanthropy. These skills were perhaps never more necessary than during the past few years when we saw a stock market crash, a real estate bubble burst, the demise of once venerable Wall Street banks, spiraling unemployment and, of course, significant knocks to the horse racing industry nationwide. Under Marsha’s stewardship of the board and staff, the TOC navigated through the closure of Bay Meadows and resulting shift of race dates to Golden Gate Fields and the Fairs; the Magna bankruptcy and securing of purses; a business assessment and reorganization of the northern and southern California offtrack wagering networks to ensure their financial viability at a time when other states’ OTB networks are insolvent; and a transition of Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields racetracks through the divestiture/acquisition process, and ultimately to MI Developments. Through all this she worked tirelessly, remaining connected, accessible, and always soliciting individual horsemen’s views. And I suspect she will continue to do so. Marsha, on behalf of the board and staff, thank you. As Marsha will tell us, the TOC organization and its mission for the owners endure. Accordingly we welcome newly elected directors and leadership at a time when demands are increasingly high on them and staff. Now, more than ever, we must stay focused, clearly prioritize our objectives, execute expediently, and preserve accountability. We are keenly aware of the primary goals continually expressed by owners: increase purses, decrease ownership costs, and secure long-term viability of racetracks in Northern and Southern California. Over the next few months to a year, our efforts will focus on various issues and possible initiatives, including:
Now, more than ever, we must stay focused, clearly prioritize our objectives, execute expediently, and preserve accountability.
• Realignment of the annual racing calendar with current horse inventory and handle; • Reassessment of the simulcasting and ADW distribution models; • Broadening the distribution of California’s off-track wagering networks where financially prudent; • Obtaining business plans supporting the long-term viability of horse racing from our track partners; • Pursuing ways to reduce cost of sourcing, distributing, and/or financing training, medication, and veterinary products and services; • Re-marketing ownership to lapsed and prospective owners; • Addressing the California Thoroughbred Trainers’ primary objective to merge with the TOC. TOC staff and I welcome your thoughts and support as we endeavor to deliver positive results to our membership. As I pledge my passion, commitment and selflessness in the work ahead, I also wish you all good racing this summer on the Fairs circuit in the north and at Del Mar in the south.