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NTRA PRESENTATIONS ON MARKETING, SPONSORSHIP, TV, CONSUMER RESEARCH AND WORLD THOROUGHBRED CHAMPIONSHIPS HIGHLIGHT WESTERN CONFERENCE ON RACING
Today at the fourth annual Western Conference on Racing, held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., officials from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) presented updates on last Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, integrated marketing, sponsorship, television, the NTRA Drug Testing Task Force, and announced plans for a new consumer research program.
Highlighting the conference was the presentation of the NTRA Commissioner's Cup, bestowed on Dr. Jack Robbins, his wife, Margaret, and their four sons, Jay, Tom, Don and David, in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to the NTRA and the Thoroughbred industry. Previous Commissioner's Cup recipients include R.D. Hubbard (2000), the Honorable Ken Maddy (1999) and Clement L. Hirsch (1998).
Heading the list of NTRA speakers was Commissioner Tim Smith, who reported that the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park resulted in the second-highest North American single-day pari-mutuel handle - $104 million - and a Belmont Park on-track record handle of $13,087,813 on the 10-race program, erasing the previous mark of $10,581,093 set on Belmont Stakes day this year.
Keith Chamblin, senior vice president - marketing and industry relations, discussed the NTRA's 2002 programs for integrated marketing, including e-newsletters, co-op advertising and several national promotions to be held in conjunction with NTRA member tracks. Chip Campbell, senior vice president - television and sponsorships, provided an overview on the NTRA's recently announced alliance partnerships with Bessemer Trust, Penske Auto Centers, John Deere and Alberto-Culver for the World Thoroughbred Championships and its divisional races, as well as television programming for 2002.
Jim Gallagher, executive director of the NTRA Drug Testing Task Force, announced the addition of Lonny Powell, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, and a representative from the North American Pari-mutuel Regulators Association (NAPRA), to the Task Force and outlined a current initiative to improve equine drug testing through a quality assurance program.
The NTRA also announced plans for updated and new consumer research to measure consumer attitudes toward horseracing, which will be conducted by SWR Research, a Washington-based firm whose clients include NASCAR, the PGA TOUR, Major League Baseball and the snow skiing industry. The SWR qualitative research augments quantitative surveys currently being done by ESPN Sports Poll. SWR principal Greg Schneiders detailed plans for a research audit and telephone survey to be conducted this month and followed by several focus groups in select major markets. Additional research, according to Schneiders, will be conducted relative to account wagering in California, which is set to begin on Jan. 1, 2002, and through the Internet to gauge consumer response to NTRA advertising.
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horseracing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, and the Breeders' Cup National Stakes Program, which are funded by the industry's owners and breeders. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. A compendium of NTRA press releases appears on the NTRA Web site, www.ntra.com, and at the Web site for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, breederscup.com. Contact the NTRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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