Year End Letter from the Executive Director

Mike Annechino

Open Letter to all OTBO members…and those soon to be new Members!

It has been my pleasure to serve as the new Executive Director of the OTBO since October of 2020. I started my first horse in Ohio in 1983 and have watched the program grow and develop into one of the premier racing venues in the United States. We are one of the few states that offer year round racing providing horsemen and horsewomen with the opportunity to achieve financial success in the racing business. Our Ohio Bred Stakes program is second to none in the US offering 40+ stakes and over $3.5 million in total purses.

Horsepeople in Ohio are fortunate to have a strong HBPA, an engaged State Racing Commission, and three excellent race tracks (Thistledown, Belterra, and Mahoning) that are committed to doing all they can to make Ohio racing sustainable and viable for years to come. These people and groups perform many functions both visible and behind the scenes that benefit all of us. I have enjoyed working with them and appreciate the efforts they are making on our behalf.

The OTBO is the specific organization in the state that is dedicated to supporting both the Breeders and the Owners. Our entire Board works very hard to see that both breeders and owners have a chance to be successful as well as providing a forum for their voices to be heard. We hold an annual Mixed Sale (permanently set up now in mid-October) that serves as the premier marketplace for Breeders to sell their young stock. Our annual Stallion Season Auction (permanently set up in early December going forward) offers outstanding values on leading regional sires both in and out of Ohio. In 2020 over 140 horses were offered the quality of which led to our best sale ever. This is the leading money raising event for our not for profit organization and we look forward to continuing to increase the number and quality of the Stallions represented.

In 2021 we are looking at new initiatives to strengthen programs for both breeders and owners in many different areas. We will also be looking at adding benefits that add value to the OTBO membership itself. Please keep checking back on our web site to see what progress we have made and what new opportunities exist.

We will definitely be hosting events for all members at our race tracks in 2021 (Covid permitting). Look for notices on our website, in the racing programs, and in the HBPA offices on track for what, where, and when these will occur. In 2020 we added Breeders awards to the Mahoning Best of Ohio Day and we will look to make this a permanent addition. In 2021, in conjunction with the Jockey Club, we will be supporting a program within Ohio that encourages the retraining of Thoroughbreds into other disciplines upon completion of careers in racing or breeding.

This brings me to my next point – we cannot do this without all of your support. The best way you can show this is to become a member of the OTBO. There is definitely strength in numbers and the more members we have the louder our voices will be heard. I strongly encourage you to download the membership application on our site and join ASAP. Thank you in advance for doing that.

Lastly – please feel free to reach out to me anytime with any ideas, thoughts, or comments you might have. I am always interested to hear what you have to say. You can reach me at 330 356 8350, via email at, or on the apron at one of our racetracks. (I’ll be the guy in shorts and a t-shirt!)

I am looking forward to meeting and working with each and every one of you in 2021 with a goal of making Ohio Breeding and Racing the Best in the Business!

Happy New Year to you all.

Mike Annechino

Executive Director, OTBO

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