Keith Brackpool, who for three years has served as chairman of the California Horse Racing Board and has been with the regulatory agency since 2009, has resigned from the board, effective Thursday, in order to purchase an equity position with the Stronach Group. The privately held company, owned by the Frank Stronach family, owns and operates Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields racetracks in California, along with the Xpressbet advance deposit wagering company and is co-owner of HRTV. The Stronach Group owns racetracks in several other states, including Gulfstream Park in Florida, the Maryland Jockey Club tracks in Maryland, and Portland Meadows in Oregon.
CHRB Vice Chairman David Israel will assume the duties of chairman.
Brackpool was appointed to the CHRB by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 24, 2009, through July 26, 2013. During his tenure, he has been known as a feisty chairman who was not afraid to challenge tracks, horsemen and other industry stakeholders on their positions. He oversaw the takeover of the Oak Tree Racing Association's fall dates by Santa Anita, the removal of the synthetic racing surface at Santa Anita, was deeply involved in legislative deal to permit exchange wagering while raising takeout on certain wagers, and pushed the Stronach-owned tracks and TVG to come to an agreement on shared content.
“I am an optimist in our future,” Brackpool told the Paulick Report. “We need a lot of changes. We don't need to defend old business models, but we don't need to jettison them, either. I am very much staying involved in racing and in California racing.”
The Stronach Group issued the following press release on Saturday:
The Stronach Group Racing and Gaming Group announced today that Keith Brackpool has entered into an agreement to acquire a minority equity stake, join the Group's Board of Directors and become Chairman of its operations in California.
“I have had a chance to interface with Keith over the past few years and have been extremely impressed with his knowledge and commitment to horseracing in California. We look forward to our future partnership” said Frank Stronach, co-chairman and founder of The Stronach Group.
Brackpool, who resigned Thursday as chairman of the CHRB, said, “I greatly enjoyed my time on the horseracing board but now is the time to for me to make a more direct investment in horseracing.”
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