NTRA Spring 2020 Newsletter

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Volume 1 | March 31, 2020
Welcome to the first edition of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) quarterly newsletter, the one-stop shop to keeping our stake holders updated on the latest events and successes of our organization, member tracks, and partners.

In this first issue you will find details about our recently created COVID-19 Industry Information page, a recap on the 49th Annual Eclipse Awards and 21st National Horseplayers Championship, an update on our legislative initiatives, the latest safety reforms from our member tracks, and the latest benefits offered through NTRA Advantage.
COVID-19 Update: NTRA Creates Industry Information Page
This is an uncertain time for people around the world as we all cope with the fears of the coronavirus pandemic. We are living with the daily reality of serious illness and even death in ways that none of us imagined just a few short weeks ago.

The horse racing industry, like just about every sports business, is reeling from the effects of the virus. In an effort to help educate the public and our stakeholders on the measures that must be taken to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we have created an industry information page on our NTRA website.

In addition to featuring a list of best practices tracks must heed if they are to continue racing without spectators, the page includes links to information from the Centers for Disease Control, advice from the AAEP, and the status of which racetracks continue to operate. This page will be updated as the situation continues to evolve. The safety and welfare of all industry participants is paramount during this exceptionally trying time. We will continue to work with our partners to help minimize the risk of exposure as the industry proceeds with its necessary operations.

In addition to staying in contact with industry stakeholders, the NTRA also monitored a series of bipartisan bills aimed at combating the coronavirus, jump-starting the economy and providing financial relief to individuals and businesses during these uncertain times. A list of the recently enacted legislation is outlined here by our CEO Alex Waldrop.
NTRA Communications at Your Service
NTRA Communications is always available to assist member racetracks with content and media relations - from notes to quotes to features. Below is a sampling of the content we have provided:

For more information, contact NTRA Director of Communications Alicia Hughes at ahughes@ntra.com.
Champions Crowned at Eclipse Awards, NHC
The connections of Bricks and Mortar celebrate his Horse of the Year triumph: Photo courtesy of Horsephotos/NTRA
2019 Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar winning the Manhattan Stakes. Photo courtesy of NYRA.
Thomas Goldsmith wins the 21st NHC.
Photo courtesy of Horsephotos/NTRA
Bricks and Mortar takes ultimate year-end honor; Thomas Goldsmith wins Horseplayer of the Year
There was no easing into the New Year for the NTRA team as the 49th Annual Runhappy Eclipse Awards and the 21st edition of the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network, Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s took place with weeks of one another.

On January 23, multiple Grade 1 winner Bricks and Mortar provided trainer his trainer Chad Brown one of the few major accolades that was missing from his resume when the son of Giant's Causeway earned 204 out of a possible 241 first-place votes to be named the 2019 Runhappy Horse of the Year.

In addition to taking the ultimate year-end honor, Bricks and Mortar was a unanimous pick for Champion Turf Male, earning all 241 first-place votes.

Along with honoring the best in human and equine achievement, the 49th Annual Eclipse Awards also paid tribute to those Thoroughbreds who have moved on to a second athletic career through the #NeverEclipsed social media campaign, which invited fans to submit photos or videos of their Off-Track Thoroughbreds. The response to the campaign was overwhelming, drawing more than a thousand submissions.

The #NeverEclipsed montages can be viewed here, here, and here

Less than two weeks later on February 9, the best of the best were again spotlighted by the NTRA when Thomas Goldsmith – who was playing in the NHC for just the second time – managed to earn the Horseplayer of the Year title with a total mythical bankroll of $404.10.

Goldsmith toppled a NHC field that had 694 entries and 564 individual players to record the second highest total ever behind only Ray Arsenault’s winning bankroll of $407.70 in 2017. Fittingly enough, Goldsmith had to turn back Arsenault himself, as well a Final Table that included NHC Hall of Famer Trey Stiles, upstart Ashley Taylor, and Day 2 leader John Vail to claim the Eclipse Award and the $800,000 first-place check.

Legislative Action Campaign Hits High Note in 2019
The NTRA's Legislative Action Campaign’s ¼% Check-off Program raised more than $580,000 in 2019 at sales and through direct farm contributions; the highest level in over a decade.

Buyers, sellers and consignors may support the Campaign by pledging ¼ of one percent on the price of their horses sold at Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton, Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company, and the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association. Every $1,000 in a horse’s sale price equals $2.50 to the Campaign.

Individuals who choose not to participate in auction sales may pledge contributions through the NTRA Foal Program. Others may support the Campaign by joining the Horseplayers’ Coalition, a group whose objective is to seek legislative and regulatory solutions to tax and business issues that impact pari-mutuel racetracks and their customers

For more information on the Legislative Action Campaign, click here
Other legislative highlights
Q&A with FTBOA CEO Lonny Powell
Although the bulk of the juvenile sales season has been pushed back, Lonny Powell, CEO of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association, shared his thoughts on why the Florida market has been such a commercial strength.

Q: Talk about the history of the 2-year-old sales in Florida and the sales companies?
A: “As mentioned previously, Ocala breeders promoted the first two-year-old in training sales in the country to sell what they raised and to show that the Sunshine State could produce runners. They decided that creating the marketplace was better than relying on private sales or another market. Fasig-Tipton played an early role in the 1950’s in South Florida and continues to do so with a sale at Gulfstream annually. Also in the 1950s, the Florida Breeders’ Sales Company held a monopoly on the sales in Florida for 16 years until 1974 when Ocala Breeders’ Sales was formed making it the largest mixed-sales company in the world at the time.

In 1984, OBS bought out FBSC and began conducting two-year-old in training sales which in 2019 held 74% of the market share for juveniles attributing to $139 million. This is up from 60% only five years ago. Sales grads competing in the Breeders’ Cup from 2017 to 2019 resulted in seven wins. OBS sales grads accounted for 18 first, second and third place finishes in Cup races – 11 more than the next closest sale. From 2018-2019, OBS grads have won 411 stakes, finished in the top three 1,246 times, and recorded 116 graded stakes wins."

To read the full Q&A, click here (Photo credit: Serita Hult)
NTRA Accredited Tracks Maintain Lower Fatality Rates
According to the latest data from the Equine Injury Database, racetracks accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance had a lower incidence of fatality per 1,000 starts versus non-accredited tracks across all surfaces (1.46 vs. 1.59). The Safety and Integrity Alliance, which is being positioned to play an important role in any federal safety and welfare initiative, is scheduled to accredit 23 tracks during the 2020 calendar year.

Here are some of the safety initiatives that our accredited tracks have put in place to further enhance the safety and welfare of our human and equine athletes:

NTRA Advantage Surpasses $1 Billion in Sales
In December, it was announced that NTRA Advantage, the equine purchasing program available to member organizations, individuals and affiliates, has surpassed the billion-dollar threshold in sales.

Advantage sales have resulted in an estimated $180 million in savings to industry stakeholders and individual customers since the program’s inception on 2002.

The majority of sales over the past 17 years have been driven by founding Advantage partner John Deere. In addition to John Deere, other current Advantage partners include Office Depot, Red Brand Fences, Sherwin-Williams, Suncast, Big Ass Fans, and UPS.

For more information on how you can benefit from NTRA Advantage discounts, click here

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, our partners are also taking special measures to ensure your health and well-being. Below is a quick update of what our partners are doing for you during these challenging times:

  • BIG ASS FANS – Save up to 25% off MSRP. Use code EQUINE20 when purchasing online.

We are committed to helping you navigate these challenging circumstances and we thank you for your business! Click here for additional information on store hours and partner operations.
Other NTRA Advantage highlights
Q&A with John Deere’s Auston Till, Equine Sales & Marketing Manager
Q: John Deere’s relationship with the NTRA Advantage program has been quite successful, with over $1 billion in sales. How has John Deere enjoyed their relationship with the equine industry throughout North America?

A: "John Deere has proudly been the official equipment supplier of the equine industry since 2001. We are committed to providing the entire equine community with quality equipment at an exclusive, discounted price.  What makes this partnership special is how we are able to reinvest money back into various equine industries throughout the United States and Canada thanks to the success of this program."

To read the full Q&A, click here
Thank You to Pyrois Media for Assisting in our Newsletter Design
This newsletter was created in partnership with Pyrois Media. For more information on the services Pyrois Media offers, click here