Alabama Thoroughbred Breeders Racing Association is a nonprofit organization that specializes in encouraging horse racing education and participation in Alabama. This is what new management is trying to develop these last few years. But her past still continues to be troubled whit battles and lawsuits since late 90’s. The last live horse racing was held in Birmingham in 1995, but the Greyhound racing continued by the guidance of Milton McGregor as the track owner.
In 2009 the Alabama Supreme Court has confirmed the verdict that they brought in 2006 regarding Alabama HBPA election and forced a new vote. National HBPA recognized the new leadership of Alabama HBPA in 2011, but they continued to face resistance of its home state. Dr. David Harrington said: Our number one goal is to return live racing to simulcast revenue.”
In 2011 former leaders of Alabama HBPA Skip Drinkard and attorney Mike Wallace formed Alabama Racing Thoroughbreds Inc; they said that they have great support from Alabama residents and non-residents who support Alabama-bred racing. They said that they have a contract with Milton McGregor who also has in his ownership the Victoryland Greyhound Park and that they continue to receive monthly payments from simulcast income of about $125,000 a year. Later it was said that much of the funds paid by McGregor were used for personal business rather than HBPA business. “Excellent residential carpet cleaning in Kingwood”
The new leadership has been accused that they don’t plan to restore live horse racing in Birmingham ever. Dr. David Harrington said that ART was founded whit only one purpose: “to continue to do what they can to prevent live racing from returning.”
The new board has been struggling since then whit these allegations and accusations. They have tried to encourage owners of Alabama-bred Thoroughbreds to come and compete by approving bonuses for winners in any live race in US. They have given those awards for first place 400 dollars, for second 300, for third 200 dollars and for forth 100 dollars. They also approved supplement of 500 dollars per horse for transportation expenses that finish fourth through 12th in an Alabama-bred race. The last race was held December 9, 2011.
They have held an annual stallion auction in January to raise purse monies. But that stopped 2013.
The absence of Alabama live racing has impacted the state greatly. The numbers of mares is decreasing, in 1995 it was 125, in 1991 it was 95, by the 2000 it dropped 57 and in 2010 it was only 45 registered foals in Alabama. Will this trend continue to follow is yet to be seen, something has to change, Alabama HBPA announced that they don’t have enough support to go through all of the changes and that they will probably have to shut her down. Will the horse live racing come back to Alabama… well that is in question now. If there are some believers in this sport and some people who are ready to support goals and ideas of new management and not to obstruct, maybe there is a still hope for Alabama Thoroughbred Breeders Racing Association.