February 5, 2016
Board members present: William P. Brewer, Tim Floyd, Mary Lou Griffin, Dana Halvorson, Debra Pabst, John Parker, Candice Tollett and Steve Zerda. Absent: Nina Hagen, Dr. Duane Hopp, Keith Swagerty and Jennifer Webber. Staff present: M. Anne Sweet.
The meeting was called to order at 12:25 p.m. at the WTBOA offices by President Brewer.
Previous Board Minutes: Minutes from the January 8, 2016, meeting were presented and reviewed. Griffin noted one correction. Under the Washington Cup Day section, the following statement was corrected to read: “Brewer noted that Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler had responded to the Board’s conversation with him at a previous Board meeting that WA Cup Day is a really important day to the industry.” Halvorson moved to approve the minutes as corrected. Floyd seconded the motion and the minutes were approved.
Finance Committee Report: Treasurer Pabst reported that through January, one month into the current budget, the financial reports look good. Income was up significantly due to the Stallion Register income. Late income for the Northwest Race Series was still being processed and those funds will be transferred once that has been completed and the files reconciled. [A check in the amount of $106,150 – $53,300 for 2016 and $52,850 for 2017 – was mailed to RBC Wealth Management on March 4, 2016.]
The WHBPA had recently made it known that they have been running at a deficit for the last few years and are looking for ways to cut that. Their annual rent paid to the WTBOA is included as income in the amount of $13,800 in the current WTBOA budget. The WHBPA is now in dire financial straits and they are considering other options. Emerald Downs had offered them a couple of rent-free alternatives for moving elsewhere within the Emerald Downs facilities. However, the locations are not ideal for various reasons and the WHBPA prefers to stay in place where they are now. The Washington Thoroughbred Foundation (WTF) will communicate with the WHBPA to see if a mutually agreeable solution can be reached. The WTF has also been negotiating with Emerald Downs on a sublease for the building. Currently, the proposed lease states that the WTBOA/WTF would pay real estate tax based on the building’s footprint. Emerald Downs’ Vice President Jack Hodge has indicated that he would be amenable to removing that real estate tax payment in order to help offset loss of revenue from the WHBPA if the WHBPA and WTF can reach an agreement. WTF President Karla Laird will communicate with the WHBPA regarding negotiation of a revised rental agreement.
Sales Committee Report: Sales Committee chairman Griffin reported that Barretts sale company in California had set their sale date for Tuesday, August 30. It had also been learned that the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association (CTBA) has set the date for their Northern California sale on Tuesday, August 16, which is the Tuesday after the Longacres Mile (G3) – the date that the WTBOA had hoped to set for their summer yearling and mixed sale. Griffin had communicated with a CTBA Board member who reported that they were locked into that date due to an agreement with the fairgrounds. There will be a Sales Committee meeting on February 11, 2016. The committee will make a recommendation regarding the date issue, which will then be sent to the Board for a vote. Griffin noted that it was hoped that the Board will ratify the Sales Committee’s decision. Once that decision has been made, Sweet will confirm the date with Hodge and Emerald Downs.
The Sales Committee liaison position was discussed. Marilyn Wulff was the liaison for last year and was also first runner-up in the Sales Committee election. She will be invited to be the liaison again for this year. Should she decline, second runner-up Connie Belshay was named as the alternate.
Northwest Race Series (NWRS): Pabst reported on the allocation of funds for the 2016 series. With Emerald Downs earlier opening and closing dates and the structure of the 2016 stakes schedule, Pabst and others working on the schedule had been unable to find a spot for the $50,000 NWSS (Stallion Stakes) Cahill Road Stakes. There had been discussion about possibly making it a stakes for three-year-olds, but it was noted that the current three-year-olds had already run for their year’s nomination money as two-year-olds.
In lieu of that, $40,000 in bonus money will be allocated as follows: $10,000 in owners’ bonuses will be distributed for each of four NWRS two-year-old stakes races – Angie C. Stakes, Emerald Express, WTBOA Lads Stakes and Barbara Shinpoch Stakes – with $5,000 going to the owner of the first place finisher, $3,500 to second and $1,500 to third. These bonuses will be paid in addition to the normally allocated NWRS nominator’s awards. In addition to being sired by nominated stallions, all foals must have been individually nominated to the Northwest Race Series in order to be eligible for the bonus money.
Emerald Downs has taken over the Gottstein Futurity, so it is no longer part of the NWRS. However, an additional $10,000 will be allocated to the Futurity. This should make it a $75,000 Listed stakes race. It will be paid to the three highest NWRS-nominated finishers, regardless of their final placing in the race (for example, even if they were to finish eighth, ninth and tenth). Distribution will be to the owners of those horses in the amounts of $5,000, $3,500 and $1,500.
Letters will be sent to the owners or managers of nominated stallions informing them of the changes.
Washington Cup Day: Brewer reported that the older filly/mare and colt/gelding races will now also be open to British Columbia-bred and -sired horses, in addition to Washington-bred and -sired horses. Emerald Downs has stated that these races will be restricted to seven horse in order for the race to go. It was noted that these races pay to eighth place and it is important for owner’s of Washington-breds to nominate their horses to make sure these races fill. All of the Washington Cup stakes are sponsored at this time, but some existing sponsorships are moveable if additional sponsors are forthcoming. Brewer noted that it would be good if WTBOA Board members or members at large were able to help facilitate sponsorships to support these races. It was also noted that Parker will be sponsoring one of the Washington Cup races.
Publications: Sweet reported that the Stallion Register in now out and is also available online at issuu.com. Sweet has been meeting regularly with web designer Venessa Koehn and progress is being made. Sweet had a laptop available for viewing of the new website as it now stands. One useful new feature is that the website will be searchable. Sweet and Koehn are still working with The Jockey Club regarding the new stallion register pages. Once installed, these will have statistical information that is updated weekly. However, The Jockey Club is currently working to make these statistical pages responsive so that they can be viewed on a variety of devices, includes laptops, tablets and smart phones. There had been a Publications Committee meeting scheduled to follow the Board meeting, but it was rescheduled to follow the Sales Committee meeting on February 11. Publication Committee members are Halvorson, Pabst and Webber. A chairman for the committee will be appointed at that meeting.
Washington Horse Racing Commission (WHRC)/Emerald Downs: The February Commission meeting had not yet taken place, so there was nothing new to report. The 2016 Emerald Downs stakes schedule was included in the Board packet.
Annual Awards Banquet: Tollett reported that more items are still needed for the silent auction. It was requested that Board members please contact their trainers about donating a month of training. Parker has volunteered to sponsor a big ticket item for the live auction. One possibility was a trip to the Kentucky Derby (derbybox.com). Parker was also the top bidder (at $1,000) on the Super Table, which includes a sit-down dinner menu for eight, a dedicated server, champagne, wine, specialty dessert and streamlined check-in and check-out. Susie Sharp and Karen Proffitt are again helping, as are Bryson and Kay Cooper with procurements. It was requested that all Board members please try to procure the same items as in the past and to get those turned in as soon as possible. Sponsors for the various categories are still being sought. The sponsors will receive recognition in a variety of ways, and they will be invited to present the trophy to the winning connections, as well as having their photo taken with them.
Stallion Season Auction: The initial bidding closes on February 12, 2016. Please remind interested parties to bid. Competing bidders will be notified by phone and will have the opportunity to raise their bid if needed and if desired. Bidding will remain open on the remaining stallions that have not yet received bids.
Floyd reported that 2004 Washington horse of the year Demon Warlock will be returning to stand in the Northwest after standing in Arizona for the past few years. Demon Warlock will stand at Bar C Racing Stables in Hermiston, Oregon.
Election of WTBOA Officers: The following officers were elected: President Dana Halvorson, 1st Vice President Steve Zerda, 2nd Vice President Candice Tollett, Secretary Keith Swagerty, Treasurer Debra Pabst, Finance Committee Mary Lou Griffin.
Per the WTBOA bylaws, Section 5.4, “If no Board member receives more than 50 percent of the votes for a certain position, there will be a runoff election between the two Board members who received the highest number of votes for such position in the initial election.” For the position of 1st Vice President, the vote was split 5, 3, 3. After discussion, Halvorson moved and Pabst seconded to take the highest vote getter for the position of 1st Vice President. The motion passed unanimously.
Next Meeting Date: The next meeting was scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2016.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:48 p.m.