About the CTBA

History and Scope

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association was founded in 1937 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing in California. It is governed by a board of 15 directors voted on by the association’s membership.

The CTBA has kept measure with the growth of the industry in the state and is today among the largest organization of its kind in the nation. The membership is comprised of people representing all walks of life and all levels of involvement in the industry.

California’s Thoroughbred industry today accounts for 50,000 jobs and 148,000 Thoroughbred horses that have a $5.1 billion impact on the state’s economy.

It was in the 1850s that Don Andreas Sepulveda brought the first known Thoroughbred to California. This was the imported Australian mare Black Swan. Her easy victory over Governor Pio Pico’s prized Spanish-bred stallion Sarco in a nine-mile cross-country race caught the attention of the Old West, and sparked a steady influx of Thoroughbreds into the state. The Walker-Otis Anti-Racetrack Gambling Bill in 1909, however, brought an end to legalized horse racing in California. As a result, the Thoroughbred industry slowed to a crawl and did not pick up again for more than 20 years.

With the passing of the Woolwine-Maloney Bill in 1933 racing returned in full force to California. The first meeting held under the new legislation was the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton in 1933, followed by Pomona, Tanforan, Bay Meadows and soon after by Santa Anita, Del Mar and Hollywood Park.

CTBA’s impact on the state’s breeding and racing industry is far reaching. CTBA administers the Maiden Bonus Program, which adds $10,000 to winners of maiden allowance races in Northern California and $17,500 to winners of maiden special weight races in Southern California. CTBA also administers California’s lucrative incentive awards program, which includes Breeders Awards, Owner Awards, Stallion Owner Awards, and the California-bred Race Fund. Awards totaled nearly $10 million last year. In addition, CTBA is the official registering agency for California-bred Thoroughbreds. The Association conducts one Thoroughbred auction each year – the Northern California Yearling Sale. CTBA is a co-sponsor of California Cup day, is instrumental in coordinating the entire California-bred restricted racing schedule. The CTBA hosts numerous educational seminars and events throughout the state. On the communication front, CTBA publishes California Thoroughbred magazine, yearly stallion and industry directories, and maintains an interactive Internet web site, www.ctba.com.

Incentive Award Program

CTBA is the official registering agency for California-bred Thoroughbreds as specified by the California Horse Racing Law. A percentage of every dollar wagered on California races is deposited with the CTBA to be paid to the owner, breeder, and stallion owner so as to encourage the breeding of higher quality horses in the state.

Incentive Award revenues currently total more than $10 million annually. Coupled with restricted purses of $15.8 million, the Cal-bred breeding and racing program totals more than $26 million. By law, these funds are distributed in the following manner:

A) Five percent of the total deposits to be deducted to compensate the official registering agency (CTBA) for its administrative cost and for expenses it incurs for educational, promotional and research programs. The CTBA distributes the remaining balance of annual deposits as follows:

B) To the California-bred race fund, 10 percent to be used for the promotion of Cal-bred races and from which purses are to be provided and supplemented for California Cup Day and other Cal-bred races.

C) To the Maiden Bonus program, 15 percent of the remaining balance will be paid to the owner of a registered California-bred or California-sired foal for winning a maiden special weight race. The bonus award is $10,000 in Northern California and all Fair meets throughout the state, and $17,500 in Southern California. Beginning in 2011, only races of 4 1/2 furlongs or longer qualify for the maiden bonus.

D) An amount equal to 20 percent of the winner’s share of the purse for a qualifying race shall be distributed to an owner of a registered California-bred Thoroughbred conceived by a registered eligible Thoroughbred stallion that finishes first in a race; or an amount equal to 10 percent of the winner’s share of the purse shall be distributed to an owner of a registered Cal-bred that finishes first in a race but was not conceived by a registered eligible thoroughbred stallion with the inclusion of the TOC’s bonuses in open allowance and overnight stakes, the total bonus in those races is currently 30 percent. Total Owners Awards paid in 2014 were $1.2 million.

E) The funds remaining shall be distributed 75 percent to breeder awards and 25 percent to stallion awards. A) Five percent of the total deposits to be deducted to compensate the official registering agency (CTBA) for its administrative cost and for expenses it incurs for educational, promotional and research programs. In 2014, breeder awards totaled more than $4.75 million, while stallion awards totaled almost $1.6 million.

The CTBA distributes the remaining balance of annual deposits as follows:


Since the beginning of time, education has been the key to advancement. This axiom is as true in the Thoroughbred breeding business as it is in everyday life.

The CTBA’s mission statement lists one of its many goals “to expand and encourage the education of members and prospective members to the fullest extent possible.”

All the educational activities are funded in part by a generous annual grant from the Oak Tree Racing Association and by the monies extracted from the wagered dollar by the state law that created the CTBA. To accomplish our goal, the CTBA board created an education committee made up of board members and interested people from our membership. We hold educational activities, seminars and tours throughout the year, up and down the state. It is our desire to reach as many of our members and interested people as possible with these programs.

There are several regional clubs and other Thoroughbred associations in California with periodic representation on the education committee that work with us to produce seminars and events in different areas. Stallion tours are held in the early fall so stallions can be viewed before final booking decisions are made by mare owners.

During CTBA’s annual yearling sale in Northern California we hold a trade show that combines the fine equine art produced in our state with displays from many of our California farms. We also include displays from people and businesses that have educational and informational merit.

Each fall we hold a two-day seminar in the middle of the state at the Harris Ranch Inn to pass along current information that could aid in breeding and raising better Thoroughbred racehorses. This popular event brings our members together to network with each other and with experts and leaders in our industry.

Magazine and Electronic Media

The California Thoroughbred magazine and the CTBA web site are the major information mediums of the CTBA. The committee that oversees these three ventures is comprised of CTBA directors and CTBA staff members. It is the responsibility of the committee to provide leadership, policy and direction that insure a flow of high quality and meaningful information to the membership.

California Thoroughbred magazine has long been recognized as a leading industry publication. We are dedicated to building upon that foundation. One way this is being achieved is by working together in providing articles that are significant in assisting in farm management and animal husbandry. These editorials are featured in our “Down on the Farm” and “Horse Care” series that alternate in each of our publications. In order to get to better know CTBA’s membership, we publish member profiles on a monthly basis. These articles highlight current CTBA members and provide insight into their commitment to breeding quality Thoroughbreds.

Another objective of the magazine is to bring together advertisers and a precise target market. Stallion owners are able to cost effectively reach the real decision-makers with their advertising dollars. In addition, CTBA produces an annual stallion directory and industry directory for California.

The directors and CTBA staff are committed to long term quality and continued improvement of the magazine and directories. We are interested in the needs of the members. Wherever possible we will reach out to fulfill those needs.

The committee also provides direction for the CTBA internet web site. The internet provides an exciting method of communication. It allows for taking our message not only to the membership, but also to a broad audience interested in the California Thoroughbred industry. Our initial focus has been to create an easy and effective way of communication between members, directors and staff by way of e-mail. It has also been a primary goal to keep the membership informed and involved in the legislative activities that affect the industry. Through our internet site you can e-mail legislators to encourage their support in critical industry legislation.

The internet is in a state of constant change and improvement. It is our goal to continue to grow and improve along with the available technology, with our ultimate goal being methods of communication that better serve the CTBA membership in reaching their goals.



The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association has had an active legislative program in Sacramento for many years. The association has played a major role, lobbying for legislation that is beneficial, not only to California’s thoroughbred breeders, but also to racing in general.

This includes the legislation that provided for license fee relief and to enhance the breeder and stallion awards. The CTBA worked closely with the author of the bills, the racetracks, Thoroughbred Owners of California, California Thoroughbred Trainers, The Fairs, and the State, to help develop a consensus on the legislation. There is little question that the CTBA played a major role in the passage of this important legislation.

Several years ago, CTBA recognized the strength of its membership when dealing with the legislature, and  established a grass roots program. The program features a network of members which cover the entire state and is designed to provide a broad spectrum of information on the Thoroughbred breeding component of the racing industry.

Legislators are invited to visit farms in their district and are given information on the importance of the breeding industry to the success of racing, and to the overall economy of the State.

Those legislators that have participated have enjoyed being able to visit a farm, see the foals, and to learn about the tremendous amount of work it takes to be a successful breeder. It has also been helpful for the CTBA members hosting the visits, to learn more about the legislative process and to get to know their representatives.

The grass roots program has been coordinated by the CTBA staff in conjunction with its lobbyist. Tours have been organized throughout the state, and more tours are in the planning stages and will be held during the legislative recess.

Each year, the association monitors numerous bills of interest or concern to its members. When a specific bill is identified that needs to be lobbied, the CTBA’s lobbyist works closely with the Legislative Committee and the staff to insure that CTBA’s interests are considered as the legislation is debated.

Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Grass Roots program, should contact the CTBA.

Foundation and Library

The California Thoroughbred Foundation is a non-profit organization that funds education, research and development in equine-related projects. Since its 1958 inception, the Foundation has made contributions in many areas of California’s thoroughbred industry.

The Foundation veterinary scholarships are coveted and prestigious awards given annually to exceptional equine veterinary students at UC Davis. Two scholarships are awarded to senior undergraduates, and the Louis R. Rowan Fellowship in Equine Studies goes to a graduate student pursuing a doctorate. The scholarship and fellowship recipients must show interest in pursuing equine-related careers.

Educational programs in areas of veterinary care are offered to breeders, owners and trainers in cooperation with other industry organizations.

The Foundation equips and maintains the Carleton F. Burke Memorial Library at the CTBA headquarters in Arcadia. This resource library of more than 10,000 volumes is open free to the public for research and pleasure and is used extensively by individuals engaged in different sectors of the thoroughbred industry. The library is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Also housed at the CTBA is the Foundation’s fine arts collection of racing paintings, prints, bronzes, trophies and memorabilia. The Foundation has loaned items for display at the National Museum of Racing, and the Spreckels Cup is loaned to the San Diego Polo Club each year.

Foundation artwork is on display in the Ken Maddy Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at UC Davis.

The Foundation is operated on a volunteer basis and has no paid employees. All aspects of its work are performed by Board Members pro bono, from the assessment of scholarship candidates to fund-raising to cleaning books.

Donations to the California Thoroughbred Foundation are fully tax-deductible and may be sent to CTF, P. O. Box 60018, Arcadia, CA 91066-6018.


Membership in the CTBA brings you many important benefits, whether you are a hands-on breeder, an owner, or simply an interested observer wishing to learn more about Cal-breds. Your dues entitle you to the award-winning California Thoroughbred magazine, an annual Clubhouse pass valid at all California racetracks, reduced advertising rates, special member rates for educational seminars, and voting rights for deciding year-end championship honors, as well as Broodmare of the Year and Valkyr Trophy awards which are handed out yearly.

Just as importantly, your support helps maintain a host of activities that promote Cal-breds and the vitality of California’s Thoroughbred industry. CTBA maintains an active presence in Sacramento to advance the interests of the state’s breeders through legislation. CTBA’s library and databases are available to members for research, and our farm and racing seminars give you one-on-one access to breeding, farm and racing experts.

Applicants for membership in the CTBA must own or be a part-owner of one or more Thoroughbreds maintained for racing or breeding in the state of California. A joint membership for husband and wife is available, as is an associate membership offered to those people who are planning to participate in the Thoroughbred industry either as an owner or breeder.

Annual dues are $125 per year. Not a member click here!


CTBA annually hosts the Northern California Yearling Sale in Pleasanton in August. CTBA Yearling Sale graduates include stakes winners Bai and Bai and Sierra Sunset.


With restricted purses worth nearly $16 million, and valuable incentive awards available for breeders, owners and stallion owners totaling an additional $10 million, it truly does pay to race Cal-breds.

Each racing association in the state is required to offer at least one Cal-bred restricted race per day and allocate at least 10 percent of their total stakes dollars to Cal-bred restricted stakes. The latter has resulted in a stakes program that has 60 races with purses totaling more than $4 million.

By law, approximately 10 percent of the total incentive program revenues are allocated to the Cal-bred race fund. This fund is used to supplement Cal-bred stakes purses, including a large portion for Cal Cup purses, Cal-bred maiden allowance purses, the maiden bonus program and promotion of Cal-breds in general.

The marquee event for Cal-breds each year is the California Cup. Each fall, CTBA co-sponsors Cal Cup Day in conjunction with the Oak Tree Racing Association. This celebratory event, inaugurated in 1990, is the highlight of the racing season for California breeders. All races on Cal Cup day are restricted to statebreds and currently offer purses of $1 million to participants. This special day provides California breeders and owners an opportunity to showcase California’s finest Thoroughbreds. Cal Cup also features a theme party, which includes a fantastic array of food, drink and entertainment in a festive atmosphere that everyone looks forward to each year with great anticipation.

Through the years, California-breds have distinguished themselves in some of the nation’s richest races against the best competition of their respective eras. Click here for a list of the top Cal-bred money winners of all time.