NEWS: nytb

NYTB Seats 2021 Board, Gallo Re-elected President

Friday, January 22nd, 2021

By Najja Thompson

The Board of Directors of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) held its first meeting of 2021 on Thursday, January 21. The new seated board re-elected Thomas J. Gallo, III, founder and managing owner of Dream Maker Racing, Thomas J. Gallo III Sales Agency, LLC and owner of Blue Stone Farm, as Board President.

Mallory Mort was re-elected as NYTB Board Vice-President. Vivien Malloy was likewise re-elected for another term as NYTB Secretary / Treasurer. All three NYTB board officers will serve two-year terms concurrent with their two-year tenure on the board.

NYTB Officers and Board of Directors for 2021:


  • Thomas J. Gallo, III, founder and managing owner, Dream Maker Racing and Thomas J. Gallo III Sales Agency, LLC; owner, Blue Stone Farm – President
  • Mallory Mort, manager, Gallagher’s Stud – Vice-President
  • Vivien Malloy, owner, Edition Farm – Secretary/Treasurer


  • Scott Ahlschwede, D.V.M.
  • H. James Bond
  • Lois Engel
  • Seth Gregory
  • Daniel P. Hayden
  • Michael Lischin
  • Joan M. Taylor, D.V.M.
  • Lere Visagie

Director Emeritus:

  • Chester Broman
  • Suzie O’Cain
  • Joanne Nielsen




NYTB announces NYRA & NYTBDF Board Appointments

Monday, December 28th, 2020

NYTB Executive Director Najja Thompson 

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) today announced that Executive Director Najja Thompson will be appointed, as the NYTB’s representative, to the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Board of Directors and the New York Breeding and Development Fund Board of Directors made effective at a December 18 meeting of the Board.

Thompson’s appointment fills the vacancies created with the resignation of former Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo, who will join NYRA on Jan. 1 as Senior Director of Government Affairs.

“I feel very fortunate to represent the interests of breeders in New York with this opportunity,” said Thompson. “The state of New York plays an integral part as a leader in our industry, and I’m honored to play a direct role in continuing to better our sport as a member of both the NYRA and the New York Breeding and Development Fund Board of Directors.”

Thompson, a graduate of Florida State University and Vice-President of the Turf Publicists of America, Inc., has over nine years of experience in the New York horse racing industry. A former employee of the New York Racing Association, Inc. prior to joining the NYTB on December 14. He worked in various roles in the marketing department, communications office, and most recently in the human resources department at NYRA.

“The NYTB Board of Directors is pleased to have Najja represent us on both the NYRA and New York State Development and Breeding Fund Boards,” said Thomas Gallo, President of the NYTB who made the motions to appoint him. “With his background, experience, and expertise he will be able to be an innovative force in synergizing the accomplished members of all boards to forward the interests of breeding and racing in New York. I am confident he will usher us into a new era of strength through unity in building a bigger and better Thoroughbred Horse industry in New York.”

NYTB board election results 2020

Friday, December 11th, 2020

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) concluded its annual board election on Friday, December 11, 2020. This year, NYTB members voted to fill five seats on the board for candidates to serve two-year terms from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022.

The winning candidates, presented in alphabetical order by last name, are:

Scott Ahlschwede, DVM
Thomas J. Gallo III
Daniel P. Hayden
Vivien G. Malloy
Mallory Mort

Six other members of the NYTB Board will serve the second year of two-year terms in 2021:

James Bond
Lois Engel
Seth Gregory
Michael Lischin
Joan M. Taylor
Lere Visagie

Whittemore, Dowen & Ricciardelli, LLP, an accounting firm in Queensbury, NY, administered the NYTB board elections by validating the eligibility of all voters and receiving the completed ballots directly from NYTB members. The firm then tabulated and certified the election results.

Whittemore, Dowen & Ricciardelli, LLP reported the official results to NYTB in a letter dated on December 11, 2020.*

*Click here to read Whittemore, Dowen & Ricciardelli, LLP’s letter certifying the election.

NYTB Annual Stallion Season Auction

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. will conduct its annual Stallion Season Auction starting on Tuesday, January 12 and ending on Thursday, January 14. The auction raises funds that allow the NYTB to carry on its two-fold mission of promoting New York breeding and racing and protecting the welfare of industry stakeholders.

To donate seasons, please contact NYTB directly at 518.587.0777 or

The auction will be held online using the Starquine bidding platform.  Participants must register with prior to bidding.  All bids will be subject to the rules and conditions of the auction and each season’s conditions will be posted. Register and bid at


Available seasons*


Stallion State
Accelerate KY
Always Dreaming KY
Army Mule KY
Astern KY
Bee Jersey KY
Big Brown NY
Bustin Stones NY
Candy Ride KY
Catalina Cruiser KY
Cloud Computing KY
Connect KY
Country House KY
Courageous Cat NY
Cross Traffic KY
Dolphus KY
Enticed KY
Frank Conversation NY
Freud NY
Gift Box KY
Honest Mischief NY
Honor A.P. KY
Honor Code KY
Karakontie KY
King for a Day NY
Klimt KY
Liam’s Map KY
Lookin at Lee NY
Lost Treasure KY
Majestic City NY
Midshipman KY
Mineshaft KY
Mission Impazible NY
Mr. Monomoy NY
Mr Speaker KY
Redesdale NY
Sharp Azteca KY
Sky Kingdom KY
Spun To Run KY
Tale of Ekati KY
Tale of Verve KY
Tapwrit KY
The Factor KY
Tonalist KY
Unified KY
Union Jackson NY
Union Rags KY
War Dancer NY
Weekend Hideaway NY
West Coast KY
World of Trouble KY

*Current as of 1/11/21

NYTB announces Najja Thompson as new executive director

Monday, December 7th, 2020

Najja Thompson starts his role as executive director of the NYTB Dec. 14.

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) is pleased to announce the appointment of Najja Thompson as the new Executive Director of the Saratoga-based organization; Thompson will begin his role December 14.

Najja has over nine years of experience as a member of the New York Racing Association, Inc. since 2011, serving in various roles in the marketing department and communications office. Most recently, he worked as a recruitment and employee engagement specialist, where he was responsible for identifying and cultivating new talent and developing onboarding initiatives. Additionally, he serves as Vice-President of the Turf Publicists of America, Inc.

“We are delighted to have Najja join the New York Thoroughbred Breeders as Executive Director,” said Thomas Gallo, President of the NYTB, “with Najja’s direct industry experience in New York and a deep knowledge of the New York horse industry landscape I feel very confident that he can continue moving NYTB forward in a positive direction.”

A graduate of Florida State University, Najja developed his passion for Thoroughbred racing after being introduced to the sport by his uncle, a small-time breeder in Florida. Growing up attending racetracks in both Florida and New York, he followed his passion to work in the industry.

“I am excited to step into this role with the New York Thoroughbred Breeders,” Thompson said. “It’s a privilege to work on behalf of the horsemen and women in the Thoroughbred breeding industry. I look forward to the opportunity to advance the efforts and accomplishments of NYTB in enhancing the status of New York-breds and promoting the economic impact breeders and New York racing contributes to our state.”

NYTB Announces Executive Director Departure

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) today announced that Jeffrey Cannizzo, Executive Director, will be leaving the organization on January 1st, 2021 to pursue a newly created opportunity with the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) as Senior Director of Government Affairs.  Jeff has served as Executive Director of NYTB since 2008. Previously, he had a successful 10-year career, working in business development and management consulting for Lockheed Martin, Dell and Microsoft.

“For almost 13 years along with our board of directors, Jeff has been instrumental in navigating the most challenging times for New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing. Jeff’s knowledge of the industry and his ability to forge consensus among regulators and elected officials has allowed the NYTB to reach new heights as an organization. These attributes will serve him well at NYRA, and we wish him all the best in the future,” said NYTB President, Thomas Gallo.

A search for a new Executive Director will begin immediately.

Jeffrey Cannizzo, NYTB Executive Director said, “New York’s breeding industry has flourished over the last decade, and I feel fortunate to have played a role in that success story. I’d like to thank the NYTB Board of Directors for their commitment to those working every single day on the 250 farms throughout New York.” “Thoroughbred racing is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact to New York,” Cannizzo continued. “The sport creates good jobs in every corner of the state and sustains hundreds of small businesses. NYRA is the engine of that economy and continues to set the standard for safety and integrity at its three historic tracks. I look forward to advocating on their behalf to help shape the future of thoroughbred racing in New York.”

Proposed Modifications of Mare Residency Rules: Public Comment Period

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

LAST NOVEMBER I summarized proposals arising from discussions over a year ago among a wide spectrum of program stakeholders about ways to attract new broodmares into New York’s program. A shrinking foal crop and the coming retirement of a generation of our most prolific and successful breeders (responsible for as much as 20% of our state foal crop annually) make it essential to restock our mare population. The stark reality is that the New York Racing Association’s commitment (per the franchise agreement) to run 600 state-bred races annually will no longer be binding if the program cannot sustain a New York-bred population sufficient to fill the races. Breeders and stallion owners alike agreed that it is essential to remove barriers that are currently keeping new owners from bringing mares into the state.

The gaming commission and executive chamber received the proposal in late 2019. We have received notice the executive chamber (regulatory review unit) approved the publication of the draft rule change in the Department of State Register Aug. 26, initiating a period of public comment lasting 60 days when breeders and other interested parties can respond in writing to the proposed rule.

Click here to read the proposed rule 

The public comment period for this proposed rule will run through Oct. 26. After the public comment period runs, the Fund will be in a position to adoptthe proposed rule. If there are public comments received before Oct. 26, the Fund board will need to be apprised, evaluate those public comments, and decidewhether to accept any of them. If the Fund board wishes to accept a public comment that would result in a modification of the proposal, it may then issue a Notice of Revised Rule-making, which would need to again be approved by the Regulatory Review Unit, be published as a Revised Rule Making in theState Register, and be subject to a further public comment period.

As I outlined last year, the most important change is to open “resident mare” status to “Mares from Public Auction” purchased for at least $50,000 (or an amount to be determined annually by the Fund). After dropping a New York-bred foal, such a mare would not (as currently) be obliged to breed back to a New York sire. Instead, she could go to an out-of-state stallion, but only so long as she returns to New York after that breeding and maintains “Resident Mare” status (according to existing rules) until the birth of that second foal.

This is a rule that many of our competing neighboring breeding states currently follow.  In fact, they permit mares to be purchased and brought in their states with no minimum purchase price threshold or floor, such as Pennsylvania and Ontario.

Another change aims to reduce the shipping burden on owners of resident mares who currently raise foals in Kentucky. A resident mare going out of state to be bred would be allowed to stay away for 120 days (rather than 90 days) so her new foal can be weaned before she returns to New York. Finally, the 90-day period that a non-resident mare must currently stay in New York after foaling would begin “on arrival” rather than “after foaling.”

It is important to point out that stallion owners involved in our discussions have endorsed the kinds of measures outlined above, agreeing that attracting new mares or breeders will benefit the program as a whole. At the same time, I’ve been successful at brokering an agreement between NYRA and the Fund to further support our stallion population, creating a $5,000 owners’ bonus (by purse money) for New York-sired winners in various maiden and allowance conditions (both state-bred and open) with a potential value of more than $650,000 annually. This commitment has been signed by both NYRA and the Fund and will be instituted a year after the rule change officially takes place.

None of this, however, means that any rule change has been put in place; this officially kicks off an elaborately choreographed State-controlled process of review, comment, and possible revision before the proposed rule change is adopted or rejected.

I urge you to make your views known during the public comment period. The outcome of this process will be a transparent, open format, in the hands of the entire program and all constituents.   To comment by October 26th you must send in writing to or by mail:

Tracy Egan, Executive Director
New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund
One Broadway Center, 1st Floor, Schenectady, NY 12305

The timeline is such that if there are no comments requiring a change to the rule, the Fund board could submit its approval to the State for finalization before the November sales. The State will then incorporate the new rules which could take weeks administratively. However, it is important to note the rule as written will apply to all mares bought from public auction 2019 forward who’ve followed the new protocols.

Lastly, New York has reopened indoor businesses such as bowling alleys, museums, and gyms. Schools are reopening. If they can all open successfully, hopefully the casinos may get their chance to open sooner than a 2021 timeline. NYRA is functioning in this reduced environment and surviving. Yes, it’s for reduced days and purses. Rest assured, NYTB and NYTHA are working to ensure there will be a winter meet at Aqueduct under these same principles. You can count on that happening.


Jeffrey A. Cannizzo, Executive Director


June 2020 New York Breeder Magazine

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

The June edition of the New York Breeder  is available now online.



June New York Breeder – Return to Racing & Breeding Fund Award Changes

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Reproduced below is NYTB Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo’s letter which appears in the June edition of the New York Breeder.


Good news has been hard to come by in 2020, to be sure, but I bet every New York breeder and horseman joined me in celebrating Governor Cuomo’s May 16 announcement that live racing can resume state-wide after June 1. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) hasn’t run a card since March 15 at Aqueduct, and officially suspended racing on March 19.

In late April NYRA submitted a proposal to the state requesting permission to resume live racing at Belmont Park. The racetrack operator detailed a host of health and safety protocols for reopening, many of which had already been in place for training and horse care for the duration of the hiatus. NYTB wrote several letters in support of the proposal emphasizing the need to restart the economic engine of the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industries. In addition to various letter campaigns I eagerly participated in numerous lobbying activities involved with various legislators and key staff in the Governor’s office.

Governor Cuomo and other officials, thankfully, recognized that horseracing was uniquely suited to resume operations sooner rather than later. An abbreviated 25-day Belmont spring/summer meet is now on the calendar and scheduled to run from Wednesday, June 3 through Sunday July 12. Racing will be conducted without fans and on June 20 the Grade 1, $1 million, Belmont Stakes will kick off a unique Triple Crown.

Changes on the other side of the 2020 hiatus of racing do not, however, stop at health and safety protocols and shuffled stakes schedules. On June 3, NYRA resumes paying out purses and New York-breds resume earning Program Awards from the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund (the Fund). The industry’s revenue landscape looks completely different.

VLT revenue for purses and awards evaporated the moment the racinos were shuttered in March. In all likelihood the racino at Resorts World will not reopen until the fall (with Delaware North possibly earlier), and then at best at only partial capacity. The absence of patrons at the racetrack for the foreseeable future also means there will no revenue from on-track handle. In fact, the only revenue for purses and awards will come from ADW handle which, for out-of-state customers, pays the industry at a considerably lower rate than on-track handle. The Fund and racetrack operators have had no choice but to revise their 2020 budgets.

NYRA has announced purse reductions and fewer race days for the Belmont spring / summer meet. Following a five-day opening week, live racing at Belmont will be conducted four days a week, (Thursday through Sunday). Open allowance purses are reduced by 20%, New York-bred allowance purses by 15% and claiming purses by 5%.

The Fund, for its part, projects a 44% loss in revenue for the year. After calculating handle and VLT losses and factoring in NYRA’s lower purses and reduced racing days, the Fund’s Audit Committee generated a revised 2020 budget which is now under review by the Fund Board and will almost certainly be ratified by the time you read this.

First and foremost, the Fund is instituting a new withholding model for 2020. As you know, the Fund regularly withholds 10% of each award check during the year to cover any unanticipated revenue shortfall. This makes it possible to reduce everyone’s awards by the same percentage, and not shortchange those who earn awards later in the year. Therefore, effective when racing resumes through the end of 2020, withholding for all award categories will increase from 10% to 50%. Any year-end surplus will be allocated to award earners per existing Fund rules.

The Fund has also reduced purse enrichment for the racetracks for the year by $500,000, allocating $600,000 to NYRA and $400,000 to Finger Lakes. This will result in a downward adjustment of purses for the New York Stallion Stakes Series.

Meanwhile the Fund is imposing substantial cuts on its budgets for administration and promotion. One big-ticket item, the Registry and Award System software enhancements that were slated for 2020 are postponed. The Fund’s professional and legal contracts have also been revised. As part of this belt-tightening process, NYTB also agreed to a reduction of its own promotional contract from the Fund.

I don’t need to remind you that we are all sailing in uncharted waters. We are trying our best to make the wisest decisions we can based on the information we have. Current expectations about the return of racing and re-opening of racinos may well change as events unfold and new data comes in.

I am sure none of us will ever forget the challenges of 2020. Events have forced horsemen, breeders, auction companies and racetrack operators to adapt, innovate and be flexible in order to stay afloat. Let’s hope that some of the hard work and lessons learned will be of service down the road. Racing, breeding and sales will certainly take on more normal contours in 2021 and, with any luck, we and our businesses can emerge as stronger and smarter versions of what they were before.

Letter to the Editor: Robert Fierro on Steve DiMauro in the TDN

Sunday, May 24th, 2020


By Robert D. Fierro (TDN)

Everyone whose life he touched was no doubt touched in many ways upon hearing of the passing of Steve DiMauro. That would include many memories of his training accomplishments with Wajima, Lady Pitt, Dearly Precious, et al, and his place in the Hall of Fame-as well as the fact that he basically “discovered” jockey Richard Migliore.

And I could not imagine that anyone who was touched by him remembers him with anything other than respect and fondness.

That goes double and triple for yours truly because he was an exceptional, though very understated, influence in my involvement with the New York breeding program with which I became involved in the early 1980s when he was President of New York Thoroughbred Breeders.

I was just starting out very modestly when Steve sort of encouraged me, with an occasional nod if not a wink, to add my promotional talents to the hands-on experience of other members of the board of directors. To say I was astonished would be an understatement: The only thing I had in common with him was an Italian heritage, although his demeanor and approach to life may have seemed far from what (still at that time) was the stereotype of “our people” in the industry, and in the country at large, i.e., overly expressive people who talked with their hands along with their somewhat robust mouths.

That stereotype was the complete opposite of what I had come to learn and understand was the essential quality of a man of Italian heritage-pazienza, which means exactly what you think it means: He was a man of patience in a business, and culture, which were beginning to depend on short cuts.

Without realizing it at the time, his steady hand as leader of the breeders during a time of turbulence involving both the state government and the racing executives set the stage for others who followed him to adopt some of his wait-and-see style, a style which was usually backed up with a few behind the scenes nudges that helped achieve our goals.

His way of going, so to speak, allowed his successor Paul Schosberg, and Paul’s successor (me) to temper our impatience at times by calling on Steve for advice, which was given with a bit of an arched eyebrow, cryptic insight, and always a smile. I didn’t realize it but he was much like my father who wore out his own eyebrows with the pazienza he had (don’t ask).

His lovely and adoring wife Kathryn and his always friendly and quite accomplished trainer and now Gulfstream steward son Steve shared a heritage that husband and father displayed quietly every time you came into his presence. If he were part of the game today at the same age that he was when I first met him most people would refer to him as “cool.”

If he had ever heard that, he would no doubt arch that eyebrow-and then burst out laughing.

Bravo, Stefano, bravo!