The Virginia Thoroughbred Association (VTA) 19-person Board of Directors is now set for 2016 after elections late last year and based on the ballot results, ten winning candidates will begin serving a two year term from January 1, 2016 thru December 31, 2017. That group will join nine other board members who are midway through their current term — Dr. Maurice “Tim” Casey III, Wayne Chatfield-Taylor, Donna Dennehy, Gillian Gordon-Moore, Susan Hart, Tommy Lee Jones, Brook Royster, Jim Treptow and Cynthia Tucker-Curtis.

Three from the new slate are District Directors — John White (Blue Ridge District), Dr. Sam English (Capitol District) and Lee Ann Smith (Potomac District) while the other seven are Directors At-Large — Ferris Allen, William Backer, Sean Clancy, Susan Cooney, Dr. Al Griffin, Carol Holden and Louisa Lenehan.

John White was born in Lynchburg, attended Davidson College in North Carolina and currently owns and operates an Ameriprise financial services practice in Roanoke. In 2007, John and his wife purchased 100 acres of land in Botetourt County and turned it into a large farm where they breed and raise homebreds.

Dr. Sam English is a graduate of VMI and the MCV School of Dentistry, and is currently President of the Dental Centers of Virginia. Sam owns English Racing Stables and has eight horses in training at his Dinwiddie training center. His broodmares, weanlings and yearlings are located at his farm in Goochland.

Lee Ann Smith graduated from the Potomac Horse Center in 1975, bought Paradign Farm in Warrenton in 1988 and has been breeding and raising thoroughbreds in Virginia for the last 17 years. Lee Ann participates every year in the VTA yearling show with Virginia-bred yearlings she foals and raises.

Ferris Allen is a native of Varina and has been involved in Virginia racing his whole life. He started race riding at age 10 and when he outgrew that, began training horses in 1974. Ferris is the all time leading trainer at Colonial Downs in wins and purse earnings, and his horses combined have won over 2,000 races. He currently serves on the horsemen’s board in Maryland where he was Vice-President for 12 years.

William Backer has been an owner and breeder since 1956, and currently has 15 broodmares at the Smitten Farm in The Plains. He bred and raced two Virginia Oaks winners and most recently bred and raced Moon River, champion Virginia-bred 2 Year Old Colt in 2014.

Sean Clancy is a writer, editor, publisher and owner of ST Publishing, Inc., parent company of the www.thisishorseracing.com website. He owns and operates Clancy Bloodstock and Riverdee Stables, specializing in turf and steeplechase horses.

Susan Cooney is an owner, breeder and trainer and her Cooney Racing Stable is based in Berryville, Virginia. She breeds a small number of her own mares and races the progeny. Susan also trains and races for several other owners.

Dr. Al Griffin has been an active horse owner for the last 28 years and has been Director of Racing at the Virginia Gold Cup since 2007. He oversaw the introduction of pari-mutuel wagering at the Gold Cup and also integrated flat racing into the Gold Cup card.

Carol Holden owns a small breeding and racing operation in Middleburg called Sporting Life Stable and is also an insurance agent for Markel Insurance. Carol is President and co-founder of the West Virginia Breeders Classics, Ltd, and is co-host of Trackside Radio.

Louisa Lenehan owns and lives at the 180 acre Lochlow Farm near Warrenton, where she keeps 8-10 broodmares and breeds for the annual yearling sales. She is also Vice-President of the International Hunter Futurity.

The VTA would especially like to thank the following outgoing board members for their contributions and dedication to the Virginia racing and breeding industry: Pug Hart, Leanne Hester, Joan Jones and Anne Tucker.