Virginia Horse Groups
Unite, Examine Options
By Frank Angst,
November 19, 2014 2:35 PM
Four prominent Virginia horse groups have united to form a new organization, the
Virginia Equine Alliance, dedicated to growing the state's racing industry since
Colonial Downs opted last month not to apply for race dates in 2015.
The four member groups of the new organization are the Virginia Thoroughbred
Association, the Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the
Virginia Harness Horse Association, and the Virginia Gold Cup.
The alliance envisions organizing racing as a non-profit corporation with
associated charities being given the opportunity to raise funds through their
participation on racing days. All net revenue from the planned not-for-profit
model would be directed back into the industry.
A new plan is needed because of the Oct. 15 decision by Colonial Downs owner
Jeffrey Jacobs to withdraw the track's request for Thoroughbred and Standardbred
race dates in 2015. After failing to reach an agreement with the Virginia HBPA
this year, no 2014 Thoroughbred racing dates were offered at Colonial.
The VEA's interim board includes David Ross of the Virginia HBPA, Dr. William
Allison (Gold Cup), Wayne Chatfield-Taylor (VTA), and Dr. R.C. Dunavant (VHHA).
It has named current VTA executive director Debbie Easter interim president of
the VEA and has enlisted John "Jeb" Hannum as interim executive director.
Easter pointed out that the not-for-profit model has been successful for the
Virginia Gold Cup, which draws about 50,000 spectators for its steeplechase
races at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va.
"The profits in racing just aren't enough for these corporate casinos but I
think we can do things that help the industry, put money back in the industry,
and help it grow; and do good things for the community," Easter said.
Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau:
In January 1946, the
Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB) was incorporated as a private
investigative agency whose principal mission was to address
issues of integrity and security in the Thoroughbred horse
racing industry. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the TRA, TRPB
represents a unified effort by TRA-member racetrack associations
to maintain high standards, protect the legitimate business
interests and integrity of the sport, and foster and maintain
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The Fred Russell-Grantland Rice Scholarship,
begun in 1956, originally was named in honor of the late
Grantland Rice, a Vanderbilt alumnus and one of the best known
sports writers of the 20th century. In 1986, the name was
changed to also honor the late Fred Russell, another Vanderbilt
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the future of this valuable stipend.
here for a list of previous winners.
The scholarship, co-sponsored by Vanderbilt, is awarded annually
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