Keith Brackpool

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Keith Brackpool
Born 1957
Residence California
Nationality British
Citizenship American
Occupation Business executive, investor, horse-racing industry professional
Years active 1980s-present
Employer Stronach Group, Cadiz Inc.
Home town Surrey

Keith Brackpool (born 1957) is a British-American investor and business executive[1][2] presently engaged as chairman of West Coast United States operations for Stronach Group, a thoroughbred horse-racing company.[1] After starting his career as an investment banker and CEO for Albert Fisher's North American operations,[2] he co-founded the water resource company Cadiz Inc. in 1983,[3] holding a number of executive positions including CEO, and is currently chairman of the board. In 1989 he started the company 1334 Partners LP.,[4] which owns the Manhattan Country Club in Manhattan Beach and other properties.[1]

In 2013 he became a shareholder and executive board member in the Stronach Group and assumed responsibility for its West Coast assets, including Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park racetracks.[1] Brackpool has also held public policy positions in California, including co-chairman of the Agriculture and Water Transition Task Force in the administration of California Governor Gray Davis, a member of the Commission on Building for the 21st Century,[2] and chairman of the California Horse Racing Board.[5]


Early career and Cadiz Inc.[edit]

Keith Brackpool was born in 1957 in England, with his childhood spent in Surrey[2] and London.[6] Described by The Guardian as “a buccaneering self-made businessman," in the 1980s he came to the United States as an investment banker. In the United States he headed the American division of the food distribution company Albert Fisher,[2] serving as both director[7] and CEO of North American Operations from 1989[8] until 1991.[2] In 1983,[3] Brackpool partnered with geologist Mark Liggett to found Cadiz Inc., a company focused on locating water sources for development and sale to municipalities. Studying satellite images, Liggett located an aquifer in the Mojave desert and Cadiz bought a patchwork of plots from the railroads in the area, amassing 55 square miles of "creosote crumb."[9] Brackpool became a Cadiz Inc. director in September 1986. In 1989 he started the company 1334 Partners LP., which owns commercial real estate,[4] and was a shareholder in a Polly Peck subsidiary.[2]

Initial Cadiz proposal[edit]

In the mid-1990s,[3] Cadiz developed a water transport plan that involved storing excess water from the Colorado River in an aquifer on Cadiz property, with the water to be sold to California communities during droughts.[2] The proposal was developed with[3] and then pitched to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MET) of southern California, and at the time was considered “the largest public-private project in the state's history."[2] In 2001 Brackpool was appointed chairman of the Cadiz Inc. board of directors in addition to his roles as president and CEO.[4] After federal approval of the project in 2002,[10] controversy surrounded the water proposal, with critics such as Senator Dianne Feinstein[11][12] disagreeing with the U.S. Interior Department’s assessment that "any negative effects on the environment could be prevented." In October 2002 the board of the MET voted against the project "by a razor-thin margin."[10]

During early processing of the water proposal with MET, Cadiz was also involved in agricultural development.[2] In 1993, Cadiz secured permits from San Bernardino County to expand its agricultural operations and develop up to 9,600 acres of its properties in the Mojave Desert.[13] In 1996 the Cadiz Land Company acquired Sun World International Inc., which had been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since 1994. At the time, Cadiz Land grew fruit and vegetables and owned 42,000 acres in Southern California.[14] Brackpool also expanded into international projects, exploring a development in Egypt which the company hoped would "become the largest single agricultural project in the world."[2] In 1998[15] Brackpool was appointed co-chairman of the Agriculture and Water Transition Task Force in the administration of California governor Gray Davis,[2] and in 1999[15] Davis appointed him to the Commission on Building for the 21st Century.[2] Hurt by financial uncertainty that impacted Cadiz Inc. following MET’s 2002 decision not to proceed with the Cadiz water proposal, Sun World filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early 2003[16] and was sold by Cadiz in 2005 to Black Diamond Capital Management for $127.8 million.[17]

Recent water proposal[edit]

In 2009, Cadiz announced a new project design[3] focused on supplying fresh water solely from the Cadiz aquifer[18] to 400,000 Southern Californians.[19][20] According to Cadiz, the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation Recovery and Storage Project would pump groundwater before it evaporates and deliver it via a underground pipeline[18] stretching 43 miles, to be constructed within an existing railroad corridor.[3] Brackpool stepped down as president of Cadiz Inc. on April 12, 2011,[4] while the proposal was still in its environmental review phase,[11] with colleague Scott Slater taking over.[21] He remained CEO and chairman.[4] The Santa Margarita Water District approved the project’s environmental documents in July 2012,[18] followed by approval of the project by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in October 2012.[11]

Slater added the Cadiz CEO role in 2013,[21] while Brackpool remained chairman of the Cadiz board.[7] The project faced several lawsuits between 2012 and 2014 brought by environmental groups and local oil and gas operatives that mine the desert for salt. In May 2014, the Superior Court rejected all claims against the project and upheld the approvals.[22] These rulings were subsequently appealed to the California Court of Appeal,[19] which sustained the lower court rulings in May 2016 and upheld the project's approvals.[23] California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a vocal critic of the Cadiz project[12][11] since 2000,[24] inserted a rider into the federal budget through the Appropriations Committee barring the Department of the Interior from spending any money reviewing the Cadiz project for permits.[12] The project planned to build its conveyance pipeline in the ARZC railroad,[20][24] but the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) determined in October 2015 that a water pipeline was outside the scope of the railroad right-of-way, and therefore would require a permit[12] that is blocked by the Feinstein rider.[12][20][25] The BLM determination was being investigated by the House Oversight Committee[26] as of 2017.[21] However, under a new Trump Administration change of policy, it seems like the project may not have to undergo federal review. [27]

Horse racing positions[edit]

Brackpool was appointed to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 24,[28] 2009, and he was elected chairman[1] on January 15, 2010.[29][5] Later in 2010, Brackpool stated at a California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Oak Tree Racing Association conference that the racing industry needed to increase audience attendance by improving the onsite experience. He also argued for exchange wagering as an alternative to “ontrack casino wagering," stating "if you could merge British racing experience with the American football model, you would have the greatest thing you could experience."[30] Along with other members of the board, Brackpool worked for greater distribution of races through channels such as HRTV and TVG.[1]

In January 2013, Brackpool left his role as chairman of the CHRB and became a shareholder[1] and member of the executive board at the Stronach Group.[4][31] He was appointed chairman and head of Stronach Group’s operations on the west coast,[32] which includes the Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park racetracks.[1] In his position with the Stronach Group in 2013 he oversaw the restoration and expansion of San Luis Rey Downs, which had seen a surge of activity as a training center after the closure of nearby Hollywood Park.[33]

In 2013 Brackpool was[34] temporarily named CEO of the Santa Anita racetrack.[32] In the summer of 2013, Brackpool renovated Santa Anita Park, and thoroughbred horse racing returned to the park in September. He explained that the renovations “were centered around improving the audiovisual experience at the track" as well as visitor experience, with the clubhouse, sports bar, and Chandelier Room upgraded.[34] In 2013, Brackpool renovated Santa Anita Park. According to Daily Racing Form, the renovations met with “generally positive reviews."[33] In December 2013, Santa Anita began installing a new dirt track surface, after changes in state legislation made synthetic turf no longer a requirement.[35] Attendance at Santa Anita improved over the following two years.[36] Along with his Santa Anita roles, through his positions at Stronach[37] Brackpool is currently chairman of Golden Gate Fields[38] and chairman of the Los Angeles Turf Club.[39]

Legal matters[edit]

According to The Guardian, early in his career Brackpool “breached financial disclosure laws” in the United Kingdom.[40]

Personal life[edit]

A single father of two children, Brackpool lives in California.[6] Personally invested in a number of real estate projects, since 1989 he has owned 1334 Partners LP., which holds commercial real estate[4] including the Manhattan Country Club in Manhattan Beach,[1] Brackpool and the club are known for hosting the annual Manhattan Wine Auction, a major fundraising event, since the event’s inception in 1994.[41]

Brackpool is also an active thoroughbred owner[1] with both personal ownership of race horses[42] and a stakeholder position[43] in Golden Pegasus Racing,[44] a partnership with other Stronach Group executive board members.[43] In January 2014, Brackpool's horse Gervinho competed in the Grade II Sir Beaufort Stakes with jockey Rafael Bejarano, winning the $200,000 purse.[42] Other notable horses owned by Brackpool have included Dynaformer’s sons Kolo and Bolo, who both won the Santa Anita Eddie Logan Stakes at two years of age.[45] In February 2016 Bolo won the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita in an upset.[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Andersen, Steve (January 18, 2013), "Brackpool resigns from CHRB to take position with Stronach Group", Daily Racing Form, retrieved May 19, 2017 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Campbell, Duncan (February 2, 2001), "The British businessman who aims to make $1bn taking water from the desert", The Guardian, retrieved May 19, 2017 
  3. ^ a b c d e f James, Ian (May 12, 2016), "Plan to pump water from Mojave survives court challenges", The Desert Sun, retrieved May 25, 2017 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Keith Brackpool", Bloomberg, retrieved May 19, 2017 
  5. ^ a b "Board Members", CHRB, archived from the original on 2010-01-27, retrieved 2010-01-27 
  6. ^ a b Andersen, Steve (January 21, 2010), "New chairman anything but bored", Daily Racing Form, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  7. ^ a b "Management",, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  8. ^ "Executive Changes", The New York Times, October 11, 1989, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  9. ^ Booth, William (August 12, 2002), "Water's Flow From Private Hands", Washington Post, retrieved May 25, 2017 
  10. ^ a b Marie Squeo, Anne (October 9, 2002), "Cadiz's Proposed Water Deal Is Scrapped by Cooperative", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  11. ^ a b c d "San Bernardino County approves Cadiz groundwater pumping plan", Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2012, retrieved March 26, 2017 
  12. ^ a b c d e Boxall, Bettina (October 5, 2015), "BLM decision sets back Cadiz plan to sell Mojave groundwater", Los Angeles Times, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  13. ^ Steinberg, Jim (November 6, 1993), "Farm expansion wins OK", The San Bernardino Sun, p. 16, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  14. ^ "Cadiz Land plans to buy Sun World for $175 million", The New York Times, May 29, 1996, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  15. ^ a b Shinar, Jack (September 24, 2009), "Brackpool, Rosenberg Appointed to CHRB", Blood Horse, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  16. ^ Douglass, Elizabeth (January 31, 2003), "Cadiz Subsidiary Files for Chapter 11", Los Angeles Times, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  17. ^ "Black Diamond Buys Sun World Assets", Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2005, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  18. ^ a b c Cadiz Project - CEQA Documents and PDF of the Final Environmental Impact Report, Santa Margarita Water District, July 31, 2012, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  19. ^ a b Steinberg, Jim (September 2, 2015), "Diverse group of 11 trade, labor and agencies file briefs in support of Cadiz project", The San Bernardino Sun, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  20. ^ a b c Steinberg, Jim (October 11, 2015), "Cadiz chief to tackle desert water transfer project", The San Bernardino Sun, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  21. ^ a b c Shinar, Jack (February 8, 2017), "California water venture tied to Trump sees prospects rise after years of setbacks", The Sacramento Bee, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  22. ^ Zimmerman, Janet (May 5, 2014), "Judge sinks lawsuits against Cadiz Valley water project", OC Register, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  23. ^ Steinberg, Jim (May 10, 2016), "Cadiz water project in Mojave Desert wins big in Appellate Court", The San Bernardino Sun, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  24. ^ a b Swift, Jim (November 9, 2015), "Riders on the Storm", The Weekly Standard, retrieved May 28, 2017 
  25. ^ Finley, Allysia (April 8, 2016), "Trying to Get Water to California but Torpedoed by Regulators", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  26. ^ "The Pipeline and the Short Seller", Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2016, retrieved May 26, 2017 
  27. ^ <refname="LATimes_2017"> {{Citation last =Boxall | first = Bettina | title =Trump eases the way for a controversial water pumping project in a California desert | newspaper = The Los Angeles Times | date =April 4, 2017 | url =}}
  28. ^ "News", CTBA [dead link]
  29. ^ "New Chairman for CHRB | California Thoroughbred Breeders Association". Archived from the original on 2010-11-21. Retrieved 2016-06-20. 
  30. ^ Arrington, Debbie (September 26, 2010), "Put the Fun Back in Racing, Brackpool Urges", Blood Horse, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  31. ^ "Stronach Group Team",, retrieved May 19, 2017 
  32. ^ a b "Brackpool Takes Over Santa Anita Operations",, April 23, 2015, retrieved May 25, 2017 
  33. ^ a b Hovdey, Jay (December 12, 2013), "San Luis Rey Downs, a relic of 1970s, comes back into style", Daily Racing Form, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  34. ^ a b Favot, Sarah (September 27, 2013), "Racing returns to Santa Anita as track unveils $15M renovation to appreciative fans", Pasadena Star News, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  35. ^ Favot, Sarah (June 15, 2014), "Santa Anita to get new dirt track surface", Los Angeles Daily News, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  36. ^ "Santa Anita Reports Attendance, Handle Gains", Blood Horse, July 1, 2015, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  37. ^ Shinar, Jack (July 19, 2012), "Deal to Put Santa Anita On TVG Discussed", Blood Horse, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  38. ^ Esper, Damin (May 19, 2016), "Albany: Golden Gate Fields donates land for Bay Trail", East Bay Times, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  39. ^ Hovdey, Jay (December 22, 2015), "Hovdey: Santa Anita builds, hoping people will come", Daily Racing Form, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  40. ^ Neate, Rupert (January 3, 2016), "How one man plans to make billions selling Mojave desert water", The Guardian, retrieved May 25, 2017 
  41. ^ Curnutt, Jim (June 20, 2014), "Manhattan Wine Auction a barrel of fun", The Beach Reporter, retrieved May 19, 2017 
  42. ^ a b Diroll, Patt (January 5, 2014), "On The Town: Santa Anita opening: Blue skies and blue jeans", Pasadena Star News, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  43. ^ a b Martini, Jessica (December 28, 2015), "Winning Agenda for Brackpool", Thoroughbred Daily News, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  44. ^ "John Clay: Carla Gaines, trainer of Derby contender Bolo, left psychology for the racetrack",, April 28, 2015, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  45. ^ Lintner, Jonathan (April 29, 2015), "What's in the name for 2015's Derby horses?", Courier Journal, retrieved May 29, 2017 
  46. ^ Andersen, Steve (February 13, 2016), "Bolo fires fresh in Arcadia Stakes", Daily Racing Form, retrieved May 29, 2017 

External links[edit]