Glen Todd is no stranger to the racing spotlight or to a Hall of Fame for that matter. A sportsman through and through, Todd is inducted into several Hall of Fames (including one for softball and another for baseball) as well as the BC Thoroughbred Hall of Fame. Involved in the sport of kings for over five decades, it’s safe to say that horse racing runs deeply through his veins.

Todd’s parents met at Hastings Racetrack back in the late 30s and as a young boy he frequented the track with his family. At 16 he worked as a writer and handicapper for a B.C. newspaper. In his early 20s Todd purchased his first racehorse. A successful businessman to boot, Todd also began working in the family business as a customs broker and continues to own the business today. Currently, with over 100 horses in his possession (both breeding and racing stock) the horseman has undoubtedly influenced the racing landscape in western Canada.

In 2007, Todd also started the successful subsidiary and ownership group known as North American Thoroughbred Horse Company. Since its inception the NATHC has amassed over $3 million in earnings. The horseman has also contributed to the sport by creating the Derby Bar and Grill Teletheatre which hosts handicapping seminars. Additionally, Todd provides representation on the B.C. Horse Racing Industry Management Committee.

What are the most critical challenges facing the industry in Canada today?

“Costs. The costs here in British Columbia are a lot higher than they are in Alberta. We’re probably the highest cost of living city in Canada. For a person here, our hay prices, our feed prices, our labor costs are far higher. I don’t know about Toronto, but far higher than even Washington and Alberta, which is our nearest competition, you might say. Our purses are better than theirs are, but the cost of vets and shoeing and feed is really high here. One horse costs $25,000 – 30,000 a year and how many people have $25,000 – 30,000 in disposable income to spend on a horse? I believe syndicates are a thing of the future, where you have four or five people involved in one horse… But the big money people aren’t much into racing anymore. There are no more EP Taylors. The backbone of the industry is dying off unfortunately, even here in British Columbia. I guess I’m what you call a small player, but I’m a big player in B.C. and I’m 73 years old. So, I’m getting up there, too.

“We need more people with some money and we need more syndicates getting new people interested, younger people.”

What needs to change about the industry in the next 5-10 years?

“Number one, we have to strive to get more people on track. Younger people are a must. We’ve got to put out a marketing plan that is going to entice those younger people. You don’t get people to go to track like I did when I was young. I couldn’t wait to go to the races. Now, go to downtown Vancouver and tell people there’s races at Hastings Park racetrack and (they say) ‘Where’s Hastings racetrack?” which is about three miles east of downtown and they haven’t even heard of it. They didn’t even know there is live horse racing there. I think a lot has to be done to market our industry like we did in the past. The costs of marketing are very high of course, but we need people who are racetrack operators to go out with the help of the horseman and the associations to get new people and to get them interested or we are not going to exist, no doubt about it.”

How can you help affect that change?

“I don’t know what I would do here. We’ve slipped so far and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do and I’m a successful businessman. But I wouldn’t know how to revive it. I’ve thought about it. We’ve gone so far backwards.

“I’m really not sure what I can do to lure new people. I really don’t and believe me I’ve thought about it, but I don’t have any answers.”

Where do you see the thoroughbred industry in Canada in 10 years?

“I’m worried, that would be my answer. I’m worried about where it will be in 10 years.”

“Number one, we have to strive to get more people on track. Younger people are a must. We’ve got to put out a marketing plan that is going to entice those younger people.”