January 20, 2022
WTBOA Board Members Present (via Zoom): Melodie Bultena, Pam Christopherson, Mary Lou Griffin, Nina Hagen, Dana Halvorson, Henry Leong, Petra Lewin, Greg Luce, Debra Pabst, Jenny Webber.
WTBOA Board Members Absent: Jim Engstrom, Dr. Duane Hopp.
WTBOA Staff Members Present: M. Anne Sweet.
The meeting was called to order at 12:30 p.m. via zoom by President Halvorson.
Previous Board Minutes: Minutes from the November 22, 2021 meeting were presented and reviewed. Bultena moved to approve the minutes as presented. Leong seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
Finance: The board of trustees discussed the Stallion Season Auction and NWRS in depth. The draft budget was reviewed by the committee and presented for approval. Bultena moved and Christopherson seconded that the budget be approved. The budget was approved.
Northwest Race Series: Currently the NWRS has $121,000 to distribute. There may be additional January nominations added to the fund, as well as late two-year-old nominations. The fund will need to include an additional $5,000 for each race in order to maintain black-type. This money will be available for nominator and sire awards in addition to the $50,000 in purse monies. This was necessary due to the changes implemented by The Jockey Club last year. The Gottstein Futurity is currently listed at $70,000 for 2022, which includes $20,000 from the NWRS. The series has committed $130,000 currently. Pabst feels that the discrepancy is okay, anticipating that not all horses will be NWRS-nominated.
Sales: There is a sales committee meeting scheduled for February 16 at 12:30 p.m.
The stallion season auction went relatively well despite there being several competing stallion season auctions across the country. There was excellent support from the season donors. The total funds generated were close to last year. There is still an opportunity to purchase the remaining seasons. Leong mentioned that there needs to be better social media support from board members for next year.
Lewin asked if it was possible to lower the starting bids. Sweet said that it is doable, but something that needs to be approved by the stallion season donator. It was recommended that parties interested in buying seasons at a price lower than the listed reserve call the office.
Publications: The Stallion Register issue is running late due to supply and COVID issues on the printer’s end. It should mail around January 25 and is currently available online.
The WTBOA website has been down since Monday. The issue is related to the format used through WordPress and Sweet is working on getting it back up and running. It is the theme that crashed and Sweet is looking into changing it since this is the second time it has crashed this year.
WHRC/Emerald Downs update: There was much discussion about HISA (Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority) at the most recent commission meeting. The USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) had been on board to manage the medication part of HISA but they have pulled out and there is no governing body responsible at this point. The safety rules are scheduled to go into effect July 1. The regulatory costs can’t be more than 10 percent of the total purses. The racing commission will have to bear most of the cost but is still unsure of what those costs are.
Emerald Downs president Phil Ziegler reported that post-pandemic wagering is up.
The 2022 Emerald Downs stakes schedule has been approved.
Sun Downs will run in 2022 for six days at end of April through the beginning of May. There is hope that if the sales tax bill gets passed there will be money to bring back some of the smaller race meets.
There are now five sponsors for tax bill HB 1928 and it bears well that it is bipartisan sponsorship. The wording of the bill has been changed to ask for $6-million instead of a percentage of total sales tax receipts on equine products. Lobbyist Al Ralston felt that it would be too difficult to get the bill through the appropriations committee if it was based on certain percentage of taxes. It was stressed repeatedly the importance of voicing support for the sales tax bill and reaching out to our legislators. Board members are going to reach out to 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) contacts and Sweet is going to contact the Washington Farm Bureau to make them aware that this bill will also impact them.
There may be a hearing next week. Pabst has volunteered to be a speaker. Most likely there will be a way to sign in to the hearing and register support. Sweet will send out more information as it becomes available.
Old Business: After a year of roadblocks, there is a finally a finished promotional video. It has been sent out for comment and approval. It is two minutes long, and Lewin felt it was short but well done. Halvorson expressed his thanks to Lewin for her perseverance in completing it. Sweet showed the video to the board and several people offered ideas and constructive criticism.
Goals and Initiatives: Nothing to report as the focus needs to be on getting the sales tax bill passed.
New Business: The Annual Awards Banquet was originally scheduled for February 26. It could be held on the fourth Emerald Downs’ floor, limited to 230 people and restricted to smaller tables. Another option would be to hold it on track level to allow for more people to attend. Sweet suggested that instead of holding a silent auction at that time, an online auction could be held later in the year. After discussion, it was decided to change the date of the Awards Banquet due to staffing changes and lack of time to plan and advertise. Pabst moved and Bultena seconded that the Awards Banquet be moved to March 19. The motion was approved. The Awards Banquet will be held March 19 on the fourth floor of Emerald Downs. Event guidelines will comply with King County COVID protocols.
There was some discussion regarding the General Manager position. Ann-Katherine (Anni) Zemann has accepted the position and will be starting on January 27.
Sweet asked how long the board would like her to stay on to train Zemann for the position. It was decided that Sweet and Halvorson would assess the situation as time goes on, but tentatively Sweet will plan to stay through at least mid-February.
Officer Nominations: It was decided that nominations would be submitted via email with a deadline of January 31, 2022.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 23, 2022. Finance committee meeting at 11:00 a.m., followed by the board meeting at 12:15 p.m.
It was moved by Leong and seconded by Webber to adjourn the meeting at 1:57 p.m.
February 23, 2022, Meeting Minutes
Pending approval at next meeting
No meeting held in March 2022
Next Meeting Date
April 6, 2022