About the TRA

The Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA) was formed in 1942 when World War II threatened to force a halt to all racing in the country. Realizing the Thoroughbred industry needed guidance and a plan to continue some racing to ensure the continuation of Thoroughbred breeding, Alfred G. Vanderbilt, then president of Pimlico and Belmont Park, planted the seed to form a commission of racetracks.

The first conference held in Chicago on March 19, 1942, attracted a who’s who of racing at the time, including The Jockey Club chairman William Woodward, prominent breeder A.B. Hancock, and track presidents Henry Parr III and Carleton F. Burke, among others. From that seed, the TRA grew. In 2015, the TRA has 44 member associations conducting racing at 40 racetracks in the United States and Canada.

Through the years, the TRA has played a leading role in the establishment of many programs beneficial to the racing industry. In 1946, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, a subsidiary of the TRA, was formed to preserve integrity and security in racing, and today maintains the most extensive, private collection of records on individuals and horses as well as tattoo information.

In 1972, the TRA, in conjunction with the Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association, established the Eclipse Awards to recognize racing’s national champions.

In 1990, the TRA formed Equibase with The Jockey Club, thereby creating an industry-owned database of racing information that enabled the unfettered growth of full-card simulcasting. The more intangible services of the TRA exist within the unified racetrack voice it provides in regulatory, legislative, and other industry matters.

At the same time, TRA also led the effort to implement full-card, merged pool simulcasting. The TRA’s 1995 Committee, named after its target date, demonstrated the benefit and feasibility of merging pools nationally with the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Pick 7 in 1991 as fax machines were utilized to create a common pool.

A year later, the Breeders’ Cup Pick 7 became the first national pool merged electronically and simulcasting began a phenomenal growth spurt, now accounting for almost 90% of North American pari-mutuel wagering.

The 1995 Committee was renamed the TRA 2020 Committee as it continues to deal with evolving technology.

The role and services of the TRA include:

  • Serving as a strong and unified voice of the Thoroughbred racetrack operators and as such should include as many Thoroughbred tracks as possible, provided each track adheres to the TRA Code of Standards and By-Laws.

  • Placing the maximum emphasis on the integrity of racing.

  • Representing the TRA members in the area of Federal legislation, by sponsoring and/or performing activities connected therewith.

  • Serving as a clearing house for information, reports, statistical data, ideas, promotions, problem areas, etc.

  • Creating various programs, activities, ventures, and enterprises related to Thoroughbred racing.

  • Maintaining liaison with (a) organizations and associations representing other segments of the Thoroughbred industry, and (b) with organizations and associations of other horse breeds.

The TRA annually hosts the International Simulcast Conference to keep the industry abreast of technological advances and other issues regarding simulcasting. The fall conference attracts more than 250 attendees each year.

The TRA collects and compiles information of professional interest to its membership. In 1999, the TRA initiated an electronic database of industry-related material for member tracks, which is accessed via the internet. The private document database allows member tracks to view, print, and download economic impact studies,
TRA surveys, federal legislation, and a variety of other reports.

Finally, the TRA website offers a host of services, primarily to TRA racetracks, but also to the industry as a whole. The website, www.tra‑online.com, currently provides the following services:


TRA Former Presidents:


1942-1943 John C. Clark
1944-1946 Henry A. Parr III
1947-1948 James E. Dooley
1949-1950 Donald P. Ross
1951-1952 Alfred G. Vanderbilt
1953-1954 John A. Morris
1955-1956 Amory L. Haskell
1957-1958 James D. Stewart
1959-1960 John G. Cella
1961-1962 E. E. Dale Shaffer
1963-1964 Robert P. Strub
1965-1966 Edward P. Taylor
1967-1968 L. L. Haggin III
1969-1970 John D. Schapiro
1971-1973 James E. Brock
1973-1975 Frank M. Basil
1975-1976 Charles J. Cella
1977-1978 Baird C. Brittingham
1979-1980 Robert S. Gunderson
1981-1982 Lynn Stone
1983-1984 Morris J. Alhadeff
1985-1986 James E. Bassett III
1987-1988 Gerard J. McKeon
1989-1990 Robert P. Levy
1991-1992 Thomas H. Meeker
1993-1994 David M. Vance
1995-1996 Clifford C. Goodrich
1997-1998 Harold G. Handel
1999-2000 Stella F. Thayer
2001-2002 Bryan G. Krantz
2003-2004 Joe Harper
2005-2006 Corey S. Johnsen
2007-2008 Robert L. Bork
2009-2010 Roy A. Arnold
2011-2012 Christopher McErlean
2013-2015 Scott Wells


Contact the TRA:

Thoroughbred Racing Associations
420 Fair Hill Drive
Suite 1
Elkton, MD 21921
Phone: 410-392-9200
Fax: 410-398-1366