February 16, 2021
WTBOA Board Members Present: Pam Christopherson, Mary Lou Griffin, Dana Halvorson, Dr. Duane Hopp, Henry Leong, Petra Lewin, Greg Luce, Debra Pabst, Jennifer Webber.
WTBOA Board Members Absent: Jim Engstrom, Nina Hagen, David Israel.
WTBOA Staff Members Present: M. Anne Sweet.
The meeting was called to order at 12:17 p.m. via Zoom by President Halvorson.
Previous Board Minutes: Minutes from the January 21, 2020, meeting were presented and reviewed. Leong moved to approve the minutes as presented. Pabst seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
Officer Election Results: President Dana Halvorson; 1st vice president Jim Engstrom; 2nd vice president Mary Lou Griffin; Secretary Jenny Webber; Treasurer Debbie Pabst; Finance Committee Henry Leong.
Finance: The organization is doing well at the moment. The budget was presented, with the biggest unknowns being the sale, the fundraising auction and track dues. Webber moved to approve the budget as presented. Leong seconded the motion. The budget was approved.
Northwest Race Series: There is almost the same amount in the account as last year. It was proposed that the NWRS allocate $20,000 for each of four juvenile races, plus $5,000 in stallion awards per race, as well as $20,000 for the Gottstein Futurity. This is a conservative route, as it does not take into account potential late nominations. Pabst recommended that at this point the organization stay this course. Sweet was informed by the race office that the stakes will be back to $50,000 each this year in order to maintain black-type status.
There was $43,450 in weanling nominations this year, down approximately $1,000 from 2019.
Sales: There is a sales committee meeting scheduled for February 23. The date for the 2021 sale is still unconfirmed, pending release of the Longacres Mile date. Les Shannon is planning to serve as sales superintendent again this year.
Publications: The stallion register was mailed out the previous week. The next issue will be the spring online-only issue to be released around the end of March/first of April and will include the 2020 champions.
WHRC/Emerald Downs update: SB 5364, which has been proposed by Senator Fortunato and would allocate funds garnered by equine-related sales tax, has only one sponsor which is Senator Fortunato. It is concerning that it only has one, but it has made its way to the ways and means committee. The other bill asking for money for the WHRC from the general fund is continuing to move forward through the house and is hopefully headed towards the senate.
State veterinarian Dr. Ron Friedman gave his annual report which can be found on the WHRC website. Of special note was that there were zero race day fatalities in 2020.
Emerald Downs announced that people moving into the backside must have a negative COVID test dated within five days of entry. The barn area will be restricted to essential personnel only.
The WTBOA shared with those present at the commission meeting that the awards banquet will be February 27 and asked for donations for the online fundraising auction which will be held March 22-April 5.
It was mentioned that the industry is very lucky to have racing commissioners that are invested and supportive.
Industry Promotional Video: Lewin is still waiting for a response from Emerald Downs. The video has been delayed due to Emerald Downs employees being on furlough. Lewin has written a narrative to go with the video.
Awards Presentation: Scheduled for February 27 via zoom. Sweet, Halvorson, Sue van Dyke, Joe Withee and Vince Bruun have been working on the presentation. It will be similar to previous years presentations, except that it will be on Zoom. There will also be an in-memoriam presentation to honor those in the industry who have passed in the last year. It is hoped that a representative from the winners will be available to make acceptance speeches. Sweet is still looking for sponsors for some of the awards.
Fundraiser Auction: The online auction will be held March 22-April 5. Discussed was the need for someone to pick up donations for the auction and get them to the WTBOA offices. Ideas for items to look for was also discussed. [The dates for the auction were later changed to April 12-18.]
Goals and Initiatives: Luce feels that the main goal of the organization should be finding ways to increase the purses at Emerald Downs. Luce mentioned an article in a January issue of the BloodHorse that reported that the TOC and TVG had come to an agreement where the California tracks will have a reduction in their ADW fees in order to enhance purses in California. He discussed the need to create a serious working relationship with Emerald Downs and the WHBPA. Sweet reported that MaryAnn O’Connell informed her that Emerald Downs had joined in other tracks in hopes of having more negotiating power in getting the takeout reduced by ADWs. Luce is hopeful that the WTBOA, the WHBPA and track management can work on this together to make a difference.
It was agreed to set up a Zoom meeting with the WHBPA to discuss joining together and go from there. In the meantime, Halvorson was going to try to get more information regarding the contract between the TOC and TVG.
Halvorson also mentioned that in California the horsemen and the tribes have entered an agreement to allow gambling on horse racing at the casinos and then split the profits.
The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 19, at 12:15pm via Zoom. It will be preceded by the finance committee meeting at 11am.
It was moved by Christopherson and seconded by Lewin to adjourn. Motion approved. Meeting was adjourned at 1:50pm.
March 19, 2021, Meeting Minutes
Pending approval at next meeting
Friday, May 14, 2021