NYTHA releases election results; Appelbaum new president

Posted: Dec. 5, 2017

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Dec. 5 announced the results of its 2017 election for President and the Board of Directors today, and Joseph Appelbaum, who ran unopposed, was elected to his first term as president.

Appelbaum succeeds Rick Violette Jr., who retires this year after more than 25 years on the NYTHA Board.

The election results are as follows:

Owner Directors: Tina Marie Bond, Jack Brothers, Tom Durkin, Terry Finley and Robert Masiello.

Trainer Directors: Leah Gyarmati, John Kimmel, Linda Rice, Richard Schosberg and George Weaver.

Appelbaum operates Off The Hook, a breeding, racing and sales company with a farm and training center in Ocala, Fla., and offices in New York City. He served his first term on the NYTHA Board of Directors from 2014-17.

“It is great to see a mixture of experience and new ideas represented amongst the 2017 class of board members,” Appelbaum said. “I hope they are all ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

“I come into this role with nervous excitement. There are large shoes to be filled and an ambitious agenda to work on. Horse racing is at a crossroads—stagnant revenues and growing costs make it difficult for many horsemen to survive. However, our biggest events are more popular than ever.

“As with many things in life and horse racing, New York magnifies the national trends. This business model is not sustainable, and as the largest stakeholders in the business, horsemen need to be central in the discussions to improve it. I look forward to working with our fellow stakeholders, including (the New York Racing Association), the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, the (New York State) Gaming Commission and the Jockeys’ Guild to strengthen New York’s Thoroughbred ecosystem.”

As for his agenda, Appelbaum said: “NYTHA is here to promote and protect the interests of all horsemen and our employees. Thoroughbred horsemen in New York have significant assets to build from—thousands of members representing successful people and engaged Thoroughbred enthusiasts from around the world, a first-class philanthropy program and significant economic activity manifested by thousands of jobs and billions of dollars within New York State. Our job is to leverage these assets to create a better value proposition for all horsemen: owners and trainers, large operations and small.

“We must confront our challenges head-on—first and foremost the cost of workers compensation. In talking with owners and trainers throughout the state, this issue resonates and unites throughout our ranks. While much is out of our control, advances come in fits and starts and the solution will not be quick; positive changes have already begun. If we keep focused on the work environment, on-track safety and claims management we can drive our costs lower and lower.”

“We will succeed by working together and promoting a positive agenda, and engaging and communicating with our membership and the Thoroughbred community at-large.”