About the ITHA

The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association represents nearly 2,500 thoroughbred owners and trainers working around the year at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Racecourse.

Live racing supports horsemen and tens of thousands of other workers statewide, including backstretch workers, veterinarians, breeders, feed and hay suppliers, blacksmiths, gate crew workers, the track secretary and horse entry clerks, security personnel, truck operators, food vendors, tellers, construction workers, waste management workers, and others.


The ITHA is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit benevolent service organization which is the successor organization to the Chicago division of the HBPA. For over twenty years, the ITHA has acted as the collective bargaining agent between the horsemen and Chicagoland racetracks.

We represent our membership in its relationships with the race tracks, at Illinois Racing Board meetings, at industry meetings throughout the country, and at the state Capitol in connection with legislation affecting horsemen and horse racing.

National Reach

The ITHA is an affiliate of the National Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which is comprised of THA groups in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

ITHA membership is comprised of all owners and trainers licensed by the Illinois Racing Board who are in good standing and eligible to race at Hawthorne Race Course and/or Arlington International Racecourse. 


The ITHA is governed by a 12-member board made up of trainers and owners. Staggered elections are held two out of every three years. While ITHA bylaws require only one general membership meeting annually and six regular open board meetings per year; typically, there is more than one general membership meeting per year and monthly regular board meetings open to the membership. 

The ITHA is funded through a percentage of the purses at Hawthorne Race Course and Arlington International Racecourse pursuant to Illinois state statute, which constitutes membership dues. 


The ITHA is the parent organization of the Chicago Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation (CTHF). The CTHF is the arm of the ITHA that provides benevolence to those that work and/or live on the backstretches of our tracks. The CTHF is run by a separate seven-member board. To learn more about the services provided by the CTHF click here

Retired Horse Re-homing

The ITHA is also the parent organization of Galloping Out. Galloping Out is a re-homing program for thoroughbreds retired from our tracks. Galloping Out is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization which is run by its own seven-member board. To learn more about Galloping Out or to donate, click here

Advocacy for Horsemen

The ITHA engages professional services in the fields of law, accounting, government affairs and communications to support and augment ITHA leaders in our ongoing efforts to protect the rights of horsemen. The ITHA general counsel negotiates and reviews all contracts and legal matters, and our certified public accountants provide annual audits and oversee elections. 

By statute, the ITHA has a seat on the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Thoroughbred Breeders Fund Advisory Board. The ITHA maintains a close working relationship with other racing associations in Illinois and across the United States to monitor issues important to our membership. 

The ITHA keeps an open line of communication with race track management at both Hawthorne and Arlington as well as with the Illinois Racing Board. 

The ITHA sponsors the Illinois Racing News, a monthly thoroughbred trade publication. The ITHA President contributes a column to each issue. 

The ITHA maintains an open door policy and is available to discuss all issues or concerns.

ITHA Services

The ITHA provides a variety of services including: 

  •  Claiming “Insurance” at a 50% rate ($10,000 maximum benefit)
  •  Bill of Sale paperwork
  •  Notary 
  • Fax, Photocopy & Computer access
  • Bloodstock Research
  • Past Performance Charts
  • Overnights
  • Race Day Programs 
  • Condition Books
  • Stall & Housing Applications
  • Other Racing Publications
  • Tongue Ties in the Paddock
  • Owner/Trainer Lounge including Shower Facilities

Subject to prescribed qualifications, we provide benefits to those who work with our horses at our tracks through the CTHF and ITHA Benefit Trust including the following:

  • College Scholarships
  • Food Vouchers
  • Eyeglasses
  • Medical, Dental & Prescription Payments
  • Sponsored Recreation Activities

The ITHA maintains an office and staff on the backstretches of our tracks to assist in these matters. 

The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Inc. provides leadership and service to the finest horsemen we know, the Horsemen of Illinois.