by | 11.17.2010 | 12:47am

By Ray Paulick

David Willmot, the former CEO and current chairman of Canada's Woodbine Entertainment Group, received the most votes from stallion and foal nominators of  28 candidates running for the Breeders' Cup board of members and trustees, it was announced by the Breeders' Cup on Wednesday. Willmot is one of 13 individuals–four of them re-elected–who will be seated for three-year terms at the July 16 annual meeting of the Breeders' Cup board of members and trustees. That group, consisting of 39 elected trustees, six founding members, and three past and current presidents of the organization, will elect seven individuals to the 13-member board of directors that directly oversees the organization. Those terms are for two years each.

Willmot received a total of 15,677 votes in the election, which began June 8 and ended Tuesday at 5 p.m. EDT. Second in the balloting, with 15,309 votes, was Garrett O'Rourke, who has managed Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms since 1992. Third, with 14,381 votes, was Jerry Crawford, an Iowa-based owner and longtime Democratic Party operative who has close political ties to high-ranking members of the Obama administration. He was followed by Bret Jones, son of Airdrie Stud owner and former Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones, with 13,959 votes; Padua Stables owner Satish Sanan, 13,157 votes; and Gainesway Farm's Antony Beck, 11,311. Nominators were allowed to vote for up to 13 candidates with each of their votes. There was a total of 31,248 eligible votes, and Breeders' Cup officials reported that 62% of the eligible votes were cast. The number required to make the top 13 in this year's election was 7,229 votes. Voting was conducted online via a secured website by Votenet, with paper ballots available on request.

Click here to get the complete election results with vote totals for each candidate.

The four incumbents re-elected were Antony Beck, Roy Jackson, G. Watts Humphrey Jr., and Satish Sanan. Beck, Jackson and Sanan currently serve on the smaller board of trustees, and their terms expire this year.

Newly elected to the board of members and trustees, in addition to Willmot, are: Niall Brennan, Case Clay, Jerry Crawford, Bobby Flay, Bret Jones, Michael Levy, Garrett O'Rourke, and Bobby Trussell. Six candidates running for re-election did not receive enough votes to maintain their positions: R.D. Hubbard (a member of the smaller board of directors whose term expires this year), Reynolds Bell, Thomas Gaines, John T.L. Jones III, Michael O'Farrell, and Chris Young.

Others running who did not receive enough votes for election were: Edward Evans, Greg Goodman, John Harris, Michael Harrison, Jerry Jamgotchian, Mike Lakow, Anthony Manganaro, Dennis Mills, and Joe Seitz.


The Paulick Report endorsed 13 of the 28 candidates, nine of which were elected: Antony Beck, Case Clay, Bobby Flay, Roy Jackson, Bret Jones, Garrett O'Rourke, Satish Sanan, Bobby Trussell, and David Willmot. The four candidates endorsed but not elected were Thomas Gaines, John T.L. Jones III, Joe Seitz, and Chris Young.


Willmot's emergence as the leading vote getter is an interesting development, and it is expected that many of his supporters will urge him to stand for election to the board of directors in July. His family's Kinghaven Farms, founded by his late father, D.G. “Bud” Willmot, is not the force it once was in Canadian racing and breeding when it dominated the sport along with the Sam-Son Farm of the late Ernie Samuel from the late 1970s until the mid-1990s. Willmot does have a great deal of experience on both the racing and gaming side of the business, through his longstanding role at WEG and its predecessor, the Ontario Jockey Club, which transitioned from a struggling racing operation into a highly successful non-profit company that includes pari-mutuel wagering, ADW, and slot machines.


The terms of seven members of the smaller board of directors expire this year. They are: Helen Alexander, Antony Beck, Bill Farish, Terry Finley, R.D. Hubbard (who will not be eligible to run), Roy Jackson, and Satish Sanan. Farish, who has served as the only chairman since the Breeders' Cup changed its governing structure, may run for one additional one-year term as chairman, according to by-laws that impose a limit of five years in that position.

“Our nominators have chosen a knowledgeable, talented and experienced cross-section of breeders and owners representing the best of the Thoroughbred industry for service as Members and Trustees,” said Farish. “I am especially pleased with the record level of voter participation, which demonstrates how much our core constituents care about our organization.”


Copyright © 2010, Ray Paulick

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