Annual President’s Day Salary Survey

by | 02.21.2011 | 11:30am

Presidents Day is a time for Americans to reflect on the great men like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln who have led this country over the last 200-plus years (OK, it's really just an unnecessary federal holiday and a chance for a three-day weekend), but for the Paulick Report Presidents Day means it's time for our annual salary survey of individuals who toil in the horse industry for one of the many non-profit associations, also known as the “alphabet soups.”

The survey takes a look at many (though not all) of the national, state and local organizations that exist to serve various parts of the industry. Anyone who has followed Thoroughbred racing and breeding for any length of time knows that, though we may be short on good ideas, revenue, and growth, we have an ample supply of non-profit associations. The salaries published here are taken from the IRS Form 990s each organization is required to file. In most cases, 2009 salaries are shown, though the most recent year available for some of the organizations is 2008.

This year, we've added two new columns of information. First, it may be relevant to know a non-profit association's total revenue, so that number is included for the first time. Second, in addition to base salary, we have added a total compensation column that includes bonuses, deferred pay, or other estimated income reported on Form 990.

The leading salaries, not surprisingly, come from two organizations with the highest annual revenue: Breeders' Cup Ltd and the Jockey Club. Now-retired Jockey Club president Alan Marzelli had a total compensation package of $1,241,934 in 2008, one of seven salaries at the breed registry that exceed $200,000 in total compensation for 2008. Greg Avioli, CEO of the Breeders' Cup, received a total compensation package of $943,501 for 2008 to rank second to Marzelli.

We thought it might be interesting to see how the top Thoroughbred salaries compare with those of another large horse organization, the American Quarter Horse Association, based in Amarallo, Texas. The AQHA, whose $49 million in revenue was larger than even the Breeders' Cup, paid its top executive, Billie Brewer, a total compensation of $576,383 in 2009. He has since retired.

The Paulick Report is not passing judgment on whether any of these individuals are fairly or unfairly compensated. However, taken as a whole, there are a lot of salaries being paid to a lot of men (there is only one woman on the list here) for, what could be duplicate work from one state to another, or one organization to another. But as long as the current structure of the Thoroughbred industry continues along the same path, look for more organizations to be formed, with more executives finding their way onto our annual Presidents Day salary survey.

If we've left anyone off this survey, please contact us at [email protected], and we'll do our best to add you to the list.

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