January 22, 2019
Board Members Present: Melodie Bultena (phone), Pam Christopherson (phone), Jim Engstrom, Mary Lou Griffin, Nina Hagen, Dana Halvorson, Dr. Duane Hopp, David Israel, Petra Lewin, Debra Pabst, and Jennifer Webber. Absent: Greg Luce. Staff present: M. Anne Sweet.
The meeting was called to order at 12:35 p.m. at the WTBOA offices by President Halvorson.
Halvorson introduced and welcomed new Board members David Israel and Petra Lewin.
Previous Board Minutes: Minutes from the December 11, 2018, meeting were presented and reviewed. Webber moved to approve the minutes as presented. Engstrom seconded the motion. The minutes were unanimously approved.
Finance Committee Report/Stallion Season Auction: Treasurer Pabst noted that approval of the 2019 budget had been delayed pending results of the Stallion Season Auction, which has now been concluded. Copies of the budget were provided to Board members for review. The budget will be approved at the February Board meeting.
The Stallion Season Auction took place online during the dates of December 16-23. Pabst noted that enough money was raised to ensure the continuation of the Sales Incentive Program (SIP). Claudia Canouse and Henry Leong were commended to their time spent in making “cold calls” and contacting stallion farms for donations. Other individuals were also instrumental in contacting their connections to obtain seasons. It was noted that this is a time intensive project and the need to hire someone next year to help with making calls was discussed. As of this date, all but four seasons are paid for.
It was noted that there had been discussion at the Sales Committee about raising the SIP nomination fees for consignors and buyers. The fee would be raised to $75 per yearling or weanling for consignors and $100 per yearling or weanling for buyers. It had also been discussed that the top bonus of $2,500 may be reduced to $2,000. (See “Sales Committee Report” below for further discussion.)
Northwest Race Series (NWRS): Chairman Pabst reported that in 2018, the NWRS had about $121,000 in funds, with $160,000 committed to that year’s series. There was about $31,000 brought forward for 2019 in the Carry Forward account. This year there is about $150,000 (including the Carry Forward account) in funds and it has been decided to commit $170,000 toward the 2019 NWRS. It will be allocated the same as last year ($20,000 to each of four two-year-old stakes, plus $10,000 in Nominated Sire Awards to each of those four stakes). However, this year $50,000 will be added to the Gottstein Futurity, for $100,000 in purse money, rather than $40,000 as was allocated last year. The question was raised: What about adding another stakes race, rather than adding $50,000 to the Gottstein? It was noted that it is hard to place another race in the stakes schedule.
Sales Committee Report: Chairman Webber reported that a committee meeting was held on January 17, 2019. Webber was again elected as Sales Committee chairperson. She reported that there is ongoing discussion about replacing Sales Barn Manager Floyd Hughes. For some time now Hughes has been discussing retirement, although he has stayed on until someone was found. Committee member Bryson Cooper had talked to Eastern Washington horseman Shorty Martin, who had a couple of potential people in mind. Webber will also ask Emerald Downs Barn Manager Vern Baze if he has any suggestions.
After discussion at the meeting, it had been decided to keep the Paddock Session, but those entries will be monitored better to ensure that those horses can be appropriately handled and safely housed in the temporary barns. Signs will be posted to remind Emerald Downs trainers that the Paddock Session is available to enter horses from the backstretch barn area.
Webber reiterated the discussion about raising the SIP fees and reducing the top bonus of $2,500. However, it was noted that it might not be good to raise fees and also lower the bonus amount in the same year. So it was decided to raise the fees, but leave the bonus amounts as they are. The bonus payouts will be reviewed on an annual basis.
The sales advertising budget had been looked at and adjusted for 2018 and will remain about the same this year.
Claudia Canouse had been appointed to the Sales Committee liaison position for 2018. Due to a tie in the Sales Committee election results for 2019, it was determined that there would be four elected sales committee members this year, rather than three, thus eliminating the liaison position. The Sales Committee voted to establish Canouse as a non-voting emeritus member of the Sales Committee.
Staffer Susan van Dyke had provided an update on the digital registration process, which henceforth will be done all online. All individuals and/or entities will be required to establish an online account with The Jockey Club Registry, or have an agent who will do so. All Thoroughbreds going forward will be required to be microchipped and there will be no more tattoos administered after 2019. All registration papers will be handled digitally.
Publications Report: Sweet reported that the print edition of the Stallion Register would be a late coming out, although it had been online since December. Production of both the 2019 Calendar and the Stallion Register had been impacted by the new online format for the Stallion Season Auction and the Farm and Service Directory.
It was suggested that it would be nice to include an online link to current Washington-bred earners of the year and also possibly leading Washington breeders, both of which could be updated on an ongoing basis. Sweet will check with The Jockey Club Information Services (TJCIS) on the availability and cost of doing this. [Sweet has contacted TJCIS a couple of times. Their developer has been busy on other projects, but she had been told that they are looking into it. Sweet will continue to pursue this with them.]
Engstrom suggested the idea of selling personalized date spots in next year’s calendar, for example, for birthdays, anniversaries, to acknowledge trainers, grooms, etc. These could be sold for $50 each. Hagen moved to implement this idea. Lewin seconded the motion, which was approved.
Washington Horse Racing Commission (WHRC)/Emerald Downs Report: Emerald Downs’ track was scheduled to open for training on February 4. As of today’s date the stall applications were about the same as the previous year, although unfortunately it was noted that Jeff Metz has stated that he will not be returning this year. The stakes schedule was nearly done and will be submitted in February. Former starter Mark Gibson has been hired to replace Don Miller, who, sadly, had passed away.
Shorty Martin reported that Sun Downs will open for training in February after Portland Meadows closes. They will be signing a two-year contract with the Fair Board and they have been approved for two Quarter Horse stakes. The fence along the grandstand, which they thought would need to be replaced, may now be a non-issue.
Commissioner Jeff Colliton’s term expires in March. Dr. Claude Ragle will replace him on the Commission.
WHBPA President Pat LePley has been working on a sports betting bill. He has sponsors and is moving forward. It was noted that Emerald Downs already has the necessary infrastructure to handle sports betting. One or more sports betting bills may be submitted to the Legislature for consideration. The bills will need to be compared and closely looked at. It is imperative that Class 1 horse racing be included in any sports betting bill that is enacted.
Annual Awards Banquet: The date for the Awards Banquet is Saturday, February 23, 2019. The procurement form has been mailed and emailed. As of today’s date, there is still a need for procurements, such as feed, trainers, farriers, veterinarians, van lines, desserts, etc. Volunteers are also needed.
Goals and Initiatives: Luce was planning to report on the Arizona stakes program. However, he was ill and not able to attend the meeting to report.
Next Meeting Date: The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, February 22, 2019, at noon.
It was moved by Engstrom to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Hopp. Motion carried and the meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.
February 22, 2019, Meeting Minutes
Pending approval at next meeting
Tuesday, March 26, 2019