Tucson, AZ — On Wednesday March 13, students in the Race Track Industry Program were treated to two discussions by Senior Director of Racing Operations at Canterbury Park Andrew Offerman. A master’s graduate of the RTIP, Mr. Offerman spoke to students in the Joe Hirsch Speaker Series, as well as the Race Track Organization, Structure, and Financial Management.
In the Race Track Operations class, Offerman began his visit with a discussion of budgeting. While not the sexiest topic, budgeting and forecasting play a vital role in the healthy function of a race track. Students were given a glimpse of the budgeting spreadsheets used by Offerman every year when he reviews expenses and revenues. Some key notes of interest are that Canterbury utilizes a zero-budget approach at the beginning of each year, and they also separate the budgeting process into two distinct segments: one for revenues and one for expenses. Offerman further discussed the many factors that go into the budget process beyond simply track operational revenue and expenses. Factors incorporated include employment rates, county economic trends, overtime laws, minimum wage requirements, and even population growth.
Offerman then spoke in the Hirsch Speaker Series about race track surface management. With the recent rash of breakdowns at Santa Anita Park, track surfaces are being scrutinized more than ever. Much of Offerman’s presentation revolved around initiatives Canterbury is taking with their racing surface like reconstructing the track’s base after the 2018 meet. However, Offerman offered students two interesting observations: 1) Track management needs to invest more time and effort into knowing the racing surface and how track safety protocols work with the racing surface to keep horses healthy and 2) Track surface management is a combination of art and science but there is a disconnect between the two that needs to be addressed.