Today the Society’s responsibilities include the management of 129 of harness racing’s most important events at 14 North American tracks, including the 43 races which it owns.
From an administrative standpoint, this includes the collection of over $14.2 million dollars in 2013, (consisting of some 75,801 individual eligibility payments from horse owners and breeders, as well as the added monies provided by race tracks and other stakes sponsors) and the distribution of those funds in purses to the winning horse owners.
In 2013 the Society oversaw the administration and payout of more than $17.2 million in purses, in addition to standardizing the format of racing conditions and assisting tracks in implementing special event races.
In Recent Years...
The Society takes an active role in engaging corporate participation and acquiring national television for the Hambletonian and the Breeders Crown program, thereby raising the profile of the standardbred industry through its publicity and marketing efforts. Among the accomplishments and ongoing endeavors of the Society in these areas:
Securely established the future prominence of the Hambletonian Stake by extending the relationship with the Meadowlands, home to the race since 1981. Presently contracted through the year 2015, the nation’s premier harness facility has guaranteed a purse of $1.2 million, securing the event’s position as the richest harness race in the world. The agreement with the Meadowlands means the track will host the Hambletonian for a record 32 years.
Structured the Hambletonian Oaks as $600,000, making it the richest guaranteed event for that division.
Initiated the Breeders Crown championship series, the first vehicle in the sport conceived exclusively for marketing and the medium of television. The program is designed to enhance the Standardbred breeding industry by providing a lucrative, high-profile championship race in each of the 12 traditional categories of age, gait & gender. The series has disbursed more than $150,854,032 million in purses over 298 events and provided a public relations and marketing vehicle unmatched in the sport.
Instituted a national marketing program, and pioneered corporate packages for harness events. The series has attracted such recognizable sponsorship partners as AT&T, Cadillac, Certified Vacations, Continental Airlines, GM of Canada, Foxwoods Resort Casino, MBNA America Bank, Purina Mills, 3M, Sundowner Trailers, Tiffany & Co, and the Tourism Corporations of New Jersey, Ontario and Virginia.
Secured the sport’s longest established national television exposure for its premier events. The Hambletonian maintained a 13-year presence on CBS before signing a contract with NBC for the 2007-11 Hambletonians. Prior to that the stake was televised as far back as 1964 on that network as well as ABC, NBC, ESPN and TSN.
Forged a partnership with the Meadowlands to provide year-round publicity and promotion of the Hambletonian and Breeders Crown, Hambletonian charity functions and involvement in other projects in the best interest of the standardbred industry.
The Society works cooperatively with the American Horse Council, United States Trotting Association, Standardbred Canada, Harness Tracks of America, the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium and Harness Horsemen International, among others, in furthering the best interests of the standardbred industry. It has always supported other vital industry organizations such as: the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, and the American Horse Council as well as fostering a cooperative spirit with international harness groups to advance the breeding of the Standardbred worldwide.
The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown maintains an office and staff in Cranbury, New Jersey, with Thomas A. Charters as the president and CEO. The present board of directors comprises individuals whose influence and power extends beyond the sport of harness racing, to areas of industry, finance and commerce. They are dedicated to preserving and advancing a race that represents the ultimate honor in a truly American sport.
The Hambletonian Society is an RMTC Group Stakeholder.