Annual Non-Profit Salaries Survey: Executive Pay Falls

by | 02.27.2013 | 3:10pm

Just as so many American families and small businesses across the country have done some belt tightening in recent years, so, too, have numerous non-profit organizations serving various segments of the horse racing and breeding industry. In the Paulick Report's exclusive survey of 22 national, state and local organizations that filed Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service, executive salaries dropped by 5.9% from the previous year, from an average of $257,489 annual compensation to $242,420.

The survey includes the salaries of top executives at what we like to call the “alphabet soups”: AAEP, AHC, AQHA, RCI, BCL, CTBA, FTBOA, HBPA (national and some affiliates); Jockeys' Guild, KTA/KTOB, NTRA, NYTB, THA (national and some affiliates), The Jockey Club, TOBA, TOC, and TRA. The aggregate compensation paid to 30 executives at these different organizations totals $7,272,614.

The most recent Form 990s are used (easily obtainable from, with the majority of salaries representing the 2011 tax year. Missing are two major horsemen's groups, the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, which apparently do not file Form 990s. Some annual compensation for new or departing executives are pro-rated estimates. We have also included total revenue as reported for each organization.

Some of the decline in aggregate salary resulted from departing executives Greg Avioli of Breeders' Cup and Alan Marzelli of The Jockey Club, who represented the two highest-paid individuals in our previous survey.

But as revenues to many of these organizations have declined (one noteworthy example is the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, whose reported total revenue fell from $1,422,842 in 2009 to $910,193 in 2010), so have annual salary increases and bonuses.

Still, we have to wonder: Are all these organizations truly necessary? Consolidation has penetrated the private sector, but it has been rare in the non-profit world.

  • Wilhelm

     Still, we have to wonder: Are all these organizations truly necessary?

    Ha, ha!

  • realist

    What about the racehorse retirement and rescue organizations? That may be a can of worms nobody wants to deal with.

    • TBIPA

      And where are all the horses they boast to place in the hundreds ever year? Big salaries and no protection for the horses after year or less! 

      • BTRE

        They end up in our pastures..

  • Astarthor

    And we wonder why horse racing’s in trouble. Thirty executives of terribly redundant, non-action oriented associations, who have overseen several decades of decline in horse racing fan interest, average $242,000 salaries for their “NON-PROFIT” organizations! Think about it and notice the perverted headline (pay falls)! In the meantime, real horsemen struggle to make ends meet. This epitomizes what’s wrong with horse racing and why it may never be fixed. Patronizing old boys clubs protecting self interests and doing more of the same instead of new thinking young turks dedicated to revitalizing a system and sport in serious decline. “Only when those who care enough, come together with those that are smart enough, will horse racing stop shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.” Now that’s a proper headline!

  • MA

    Am I the only one with technical issues? When I open the survey link, in this window or a new window, it says,

    “This content cannot be displayed in

    To help protect the security of information you enter into this website, the publisher of this content does not allow it to be displayed in a frame.”I don’t think this has anything to do with the new server.

    • RayPaulick

      Not sure why you are experiencing problems. I have heard of no one else being unable to view the document.

  • John McEvoy

    That the average salary of these “not for profit” outfit execs dropped below the quarter-million dollar mark should be in the Paulick “Good News Friday” section.

  • Absolute Insurer


    Did you attempt to get 990’s from MD and FL directly ? Just curious because I find it very odd that they would not have to file 990’s.

    • RayPaulick

      Yes on Florida (I asked directly), no on Maryland. Florida HBPA pays taxes and does not file a 990.

  • From $257k to $242k? Boy, those non-profit execs are doing some belt-tightening, alright! “Sorry Junior, you’re getting a Beemer for your 16th this year, not the Lambo you wanted.”

  • BTRE

    You know, it’s wonderful that all these groups are out there helping the racing industry get their act together.  Then there’s the aftercare organization…now I’m not talking about TAA or the NTRA that are suppose to be doing so much for these horses.  I’m talking about the programs like ours, that are 501c3’s.  Take in thoroughbreds that are retrieved from kill buyers feed lots, outbid kill buyers at auctions to save ex-racehorses that have raced as recently as two weeks prior, abandoned at farms, abused, neglected, etc. etc.  We have executive too that work to help these athletes 24/7, put money out of our own personal pockets to save them and don’t receive ONE CENT compensation.  Then we get told that these big organizations can’t help us.  There is definitely something wrong with this picture.

  • David

    The federal government is only now struggling with what most
    Americans had been forced to do the past 5-7 years – get by with less.  Difference is that they’ll end up continuing
    to spend and, as usual, put it on the card. 
    Racing organizations have shown a remarkable resilience to the steady
    economic decline of the industry they allegedly serve.  You’d think strapped members would just say
    “no” or at least cut back the amounts put-ups for the menagerie of “support”
    groups.  But, you don’t see much consolidation
    of effort or austere programs, just more of the same.

  • Concerned Observer

    Yes, I agree we have too many high paid execs at
    alphabet orgs, most doing nothing except keeping the board members happy. That is the problem! The horsemen on these boards are either gutless or empty suits. They could fix it in a heartbeat….but they never will.

    SPEAKING of non-profits PROFITS read Brills article in TIME MAG. on medical non-profit  profits. amazing.

  • MemoriesofPuchi

    would love to know what the senior execs at the major racetracks are making for annual salary and bonuses!

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