June 27, 2019
Board Members Present: Melodie Bultena, Jim Engstrom Mary Lou Griffin, Nina Hagen, Dana Halvorson, David Israel, Petra Lewin, Greg Luce, Debra Pabst, and Jennifer Webber. Absent: Pam Christopherson, Dr. Duane Hopp. Staff present: M. Anne Sweet.
The meeting was called to order at 12:18 p.m. at the WTBOA offices by President Halvorson.
Previous Board Minutes: Minutes from the May 21, 2019, meeting were presented and reviewed. Bultena moved to approve the minutes as presented. Webber seconded the motion. The minutes were approved as presented.
Finance Committee Report: Treasurer Pabst reported that the budget is about the same as previously reported at the last Board meeting.
She reported on some cost-saving measures that had been presented by Sweet and that are being considered, including:
- The Finance Committee recommended reducing Directors and Officers coverage from $1-million to $500,000, which would save about $418 for this year.
- Staffer Susan van Dyke has expressed her desire to reduce her hours at the beginning of 2020, which would provide some savings.
- Sweet had explored cost-saving possibilities for the magazine. There would be about $115 savings per issue by switching to a lighter weight paper (which should also provide savings on postage). By foregoing the aqueous coating, another $135 per issue could be saved. After discussion, it was decided to go with the lighter weight paper and no aqueous coating, which would provide a savings of about $250 per issue.
- The magazine will continue to be produced quarterly, and the Summer and Winter issues will continue to be printed as usual. However, beginning this year, the Fall and Spring issues will be available online in digital-only format. This will save about $3,500 on each of those issues (about $7,000 total savings per year). It was also noted that we will continue to provide the biweekly e-newsletter, with an emphasis on more graphics and less text (see Publications report below for further discussion).
- Sweet had also created a spreadsheet examining what impact a five percent administration fee on the Northwest Race Series (NWRS) might have in terms of revenue. Based on 2018 nominations, a five percent fee would have generated about $5,000.
- Discussion followed regarding the raising of NWRS fees, which have not been raised in many years. It was decided that the nomination fee will be raised by $25 beginning with weanlings of 2019.
After further discussion, Engstrom moved that the Directors and Officers insurance coverage be reduced from $1-million to $500,000. Hagen seconded and the motion was approved.
Northwest Race Series (NWRS): See notes above. In addition, Chairman Pabst reviewed this year’s series, for which $154,000 in nominations was received for 2019, with $170,000 committed to the series. The first two races of the 2019 series will be run on July 21.
Sales Committee Report: Chairman Webber reported on the June 11, 2019, Sales Committee meeting. She noted that the sales catalog will be available online the first week of July. She has been working with John Loftus to make contact with someone from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe about having a food truck on the sales grounds for sale weekend. It has been decided that consignors will be charged $10 per stall for stripping and cleaning the stalls after the sale. Consignors will have the option to clean the stalls themselves, thus eliminating the fee, with stalls to be approved by sales barn manager Les Shannon. The staff and committee members have been looking into using bulk shavings versus bagged bedding pellets. There should be a significant cost savings.
Webber reported that it appears to be a strong catalog, which includes 104 yearlings, one horse of racing age (a two-year-old), and 16 broodmares. She expressed some concerns about how the situation in California might impact the sale. All Board members are encouraged to help promote the sale as much as possible. Webber has been active posting on social media and will continue to provide catalog-related updates on social media. She noted that the Paddock Session deadline is Wednesday, July 31.
Catalog distribution was discussed. As in the past, Erin Anderson will distribute catalogs in Northern California, Leslie Carter will distribute in Southern California, Monica Russell will distribute in Alberta, and Halvorson will visit Hastings Racecourse and distribute catalogs there. Sweet will contact Emerald Downs’ Bob Fraser about distributing catalogs to the simulcasting facilities, as he did for us last year.
Publications Report: Sweet reported that the sales catalog will go to the printer on July 2. As noted above, it will be available online within the next week. Staff is currently working on the Summer/Sale issue of the magazine, which is on schedule to arrive in people’s hands two weeks prior to the sale. It will also be mailed to previous buyers and all those on the hospitality list (who will also receive a letter offering them hotel accommodations and a travel stipend).
Further discussion regarding the e-newsletter included the following suggestions:
- More like Glen Todd’s newsletter, The Derby
- Establish a set format to fill in the winners, more like a “Tweet,” and perhaps split by level
- Continue to include Washington-bred, Washington-sired, and Washington-owned winners
- Current information
- Limit to second dam and above
- Maybe feature one historical story once in a while
Washington Horse Racing Commission (WHRC)/Emerald Downs Report: Sweet reported on the June 14, 2019, WHRC meeting. Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler reported that they are down about 80 horses from the same time period last year, currently at 862 horses on the grounds. Emerald Downs was looking forward to a really big weekend with the upcoming Indian Relay Races and Father’s Day.
Washington HBPA President Pat LePley reported for the WHBPA. He noted that they are monitoring the Santa Anita situation, as well as working on the Condition Book and still working on sports wagering. Regarding the sport wagering bill that had been submitted earlier this year, Representative Joe Schmick noted that any bill that is submitted is open for two years. LePley also noted their concern about the horse population. There is usually a draw of some California horses, but Emerald is not getting those horses at this time, due to controversies at the racetracks and those horses are going elsewhere. The loss of Portland Meadows is also a blow. The WHBPA general meeting is scheduled for Saturday, June 29, at 12:30 p.m.
Regarding discussion on the National Medication Compact, it was noted that only three or four states have joined the Compact. Total industry support is needed in order for the Compact to make it through the legislature, but it has not received national momentum. The Barr-Tonko Bill is in the US House of Representatives and there is a mirror bill in the US Senate. Either of these bills would put horse racing under the regulation of USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency).
Annual Membership Meeting: The date for the Annual Membership Meeting is Saturday, July 13, 2019, 12:30 p.m. at Emerald Downs (Emerald Room, 4th Floor). Dr. Claude Ragel will be the keynote speaker again. Since the attendance had been light last year and the topics were interesting (throat/airway issues and standing castration), he will speak on those same topics again this year. Board members are encouraged to help spread the word. Fliers will be posted in various locations.
“Horsemen Helping Horsemen” Distance Series: It was noted that $21,175 has been pledged this year, an increase of about 50 percent over last year. Jody Peetz has been invited to speak briefly about the distance at the Annual Membership Meeting.
Goals and Initiatives/Condition Book: It was again noted that we first need to present any suggestions we have to the WHBPA and get their support. If we get their support, then Emerald Downs is more likely to go along with those changes/suggestions. Sweet will contact WHBPA Executive Director MaryAnn O’Connell about setting up a joint WTBOA-WHBPA meeting or meetings regarding the Condition Book – initial meeting to be held in the fall after the sale, with a follow-up meeting in February.
Lobbyist: The idea of an industry lobbyist was discussed. It was suggested that Mike Patterson would be a good person to talk to for ideas and suggestions. Halvorson will speak to Patterson. It was also noted that Pat LePley is a lobbyist for the Trial Lawyers Association. Both men may have suggestions to help us understand what we can do to help ourselves as an industry.
Board Nominations for 2020-22 Term: The following incumbents have agreed to run again: Luce, Engstrom, and Christopherson (per Bultena). Sweet will contact incumbent Hopp to see if he will run again. Additional nominees were suggested and Board members will talk to them about running.
Other Business: There was discussion about creating a promotional video similar to the Iowa video that Griffin had seen and that was disseminated for all to review. The suggestion was to make a “short and sweet” video, showing the impact of the Thoroughbred industry and the people involved. Lewin offered to spearhead it project, get quotes, and work with a potential video creator that she knows. [After discussion with Emerald Downs’ Joe Withee and Vince Bruun, it was decided that we should wait until after the sale and after the Emerald Downs meet, when all parties would have more time to collaborate on the video. At a later WHRC meeting, Ziegler also expressed an interest in creating a video or videos that would help show and promote all of the positive sides of the industry.]
Next Meeting Date: The next meeting was scheduled for Friday, September 6, 2019.
It was moved by Webber and seconded by Griffin to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried and the meeting was adjourned at 2:25 p.m.
September 6, 2019, Meeting Minutes
Pending approval at next meeting
Friday, October 18, 2019