March 26, 2019
Board Members Present: Melodie Bultena, Pam Christopherson, Mary Lou Griffin (phone), Nina Hagen, Dana Halvorson, Dr. Duane Hopp, David Israel, Petra Lewin, Greg Luce, Debra Pabst, and Jennifer Webber. Absent: Jim Engstrom. Staff present: M. Anne Sweet.
The meeting was called to order at 1:43 p.m. at the WTBOA offices by President Halvorson.
Previous Board Minutes: Minutes from the February 22, 2019, meeting were presented and reviewed. Webber moved to approve the minutes as presented. Hopp seconded the motion. The minutes were unanimously approved.
Finance Committee Report: Chairman Pabst reported that the Stallion Season Auction had been very successful. As shown in the Financial Reports packet, the gross was $36,677. Less expenses of $2,067.95 (commission and fees to Thoroughlybred.com) and $1,075 (advertising), the net income was $33,464.05, which is slightly more than doubled from previous years.
The Annual Awards Banquet was also successful, about on par with previous years. The gross was $40,726. Less expenses of $20,360.48 (dinner, trophies, bank card fees, etc., and includes $3,305 to Washington Thoroughbred Foundation for designated nonprofit-donated items), the net income was $20,365.52.
There was discussion regarding an incentive to offer or advertise when soliciting seasons for the Stallion Season Auction. It was noted that Iowa offers three $70,000 races plus stallion incentives. It was also noted that they have been able to grow their stallion season auction over the past few years and were able to raise $190,000 in their auction. All get of stallions whose seasons sold through their auction are eligible for these races. There is also a series of nomination fees to keep those horses eligible.
In regards to our stallion season auction, it was mentioned that at this time there might be $5,000 that could be applied toward an award. Ideas that were suggested included: money added to a normal allowance race, with permission from the WHBPA and Emerald Downs; a “generic offering” that money will be allocated for an awards program still to be determined; a stallion award to be applied toward an existing race (for example, $5,000 to the Gottstein Futurity or $2,500 each to the Washington Oaks and the Muckleshoot Derby). It was noted that it would be difficult to fit a new two-year-old stakes race into the existing stakes schedule, but perhaps a three-year-old stakes race could be added in the spring.
Northwest Race Series (NWRS): Chairman Pabst noted that $50,000 (compared to last year’s $40,000) has been added to the Gottstein Futurity, making $100,000 in purse money for the Gottstein. Also new this year, it has been decided that this year if an owner pays $5,000 to supplement a horse into the Gottstein, that horse will be eligible to run for the entire $100,000. Horses that are not NWRS eligible or that do not pay the $5,000 supplement will be running for only $50,000 in purse money and not for the additional $50,000 in NWRS funds). Also, the $5,000 supplement will be added to the $50,000 NWRS supplement, rather than to the purse.
Sales Committee Report: Chairman Webber reported that as of this date there were 25 entries. The “early bird” deadline is Friday, March 29. Lester Shannon has expressed an interest in becoming the sales barns manager in place of Floyd Hughes. Shannon has helped with the sale in the past under former sales barns manager Joe Pirone, as well as assisting Hughes in recent years on sale day. Hughes has said that he would be on-call as a consultant and also is willing to come over to help for sale weekend. There is a sales committee meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 11.
Publications Report: Sweet reported that the Spring issue of the magazine was at the printers and had been completed a week earlier than anticipated. It issue will mail on April 2, also a week earlier than anticipated. Sweet noted that the next priority for publications would be the sales catalog. The Summer issue of the magazine will be worked on concurrently with the catalog, but will be finished after the catalog. It was noted that the magazine should be in people’s hands at least two weeks prior to the sale. Sweet noted that the dates for sending and receiving the catalog proofs, final pages, and indexes from The Jockey Club have been back up by one week accordingly to make this possible. More discussion to follow at next Board meeting.
Washington Horse Racing Commission (WHRC)/Emerald Downs Report: There had been several bills related to sports betting introduced. HB 1984, written by WHBPA President Pat LePley, did not gain any traction. HB 1975 (submitted by three Tribes, but did not include horseracing) made it out of the original committee, but died in the appropriations committee. Representatives from the WHBPA and the WHRC had spoken against this bill because it did not include the racing industry. There were a couple of other bills or substitute bills that had been dropped but did not progress. A task force regarding problem gambling, which would include the WHRC, was being formed. It was felt that any future bills would need to include stipulations regarding problem gambling.
It was also noted that the Tonko/Barr bill (formerly the Barr/Tonko bill), which would mandate that horseracing would be regulated by USADA (US Anti-doping Agency, which regulates the Olympics, etc.) has been reintroduced nationally, and that it is virtually the same as the previous bill. A Proposed Interstate Anti-doping and Drug Testing Standards Compact has been drafted in the hope that states would come together under the unified guidelines of the compact and thus avoid the necessity of the federal legislation.
It was noted that Engstrom had volunteered to create a video that could be presented to legislators, which, among other things, could show the racing industry’s economic impact in relation to jobs, agriculture, etc.
Annual Awards Banquet: See Finance Committee Report. Pabst noted that a brainstorming session will be put on the calendar for October to help with ideas (and the ways and means to implement those ideas) for the next year’s banquet and silent/live/dessert auctions. It was noted that on trip packages (or other items) that are obtained through a charity fundraising company (or similar source), potential buyers should be made aware that part of the money goes back to that company, rather than all funds going to the WTBOA. It was pointed out that oftentimes people would prefer to know that all of their funds are going to the WTBOA.
Sweet reported that it had been suggested that we accept nominations for the OTTB (off-the-track Thoroughbred) year-end award. This was suggested in addition to the existing award, which is based on The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP). WHBPA Executive Secretary MaryAnn O’Connell and WTBOA staffer Tara Homfeldt have offered to help with this in the fall in order to help expand awareness of other careers that Thoroughbreds do after and/or instead of racing. Another suggestion was to continue using the TIP results, but perhaps offer two awards – one for horses/rides competing in English disciplines and one for Western disciplines.
Certification Program: Information from the past two attempts to get Washington-bred certification implemented through the WHRC was included in the Board packet. It was noted that most other states have a certification program, including California. It was noted that California’s program has three aspects for California-foaled and/or Californian-sired horses with varying eligibilities for earning breeders’ or owners’ awards.
Arizona’s program was also discussed. Luce reported that they offer two $100,000 races, for which the track (Turf Paradise) puts up $30,000 for each. Incremental nominations for each horse total $1,200 over time to keep them eligible for the races. Ten percent comes off the top for administration fees. The Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders Association (ATBA) used to get one-eighth of one percent from simulcasting. Now they get one-sixteenth of one percent of the take from off-track betting (OTB). Other ATBA income comes from membership fees and the sale.
Bultena read a prepared statement noting various aspects of the current precarious state of the Washington Thoroughbred breeding industry, as well as noting additional veterinary and other costs that breeders would incur if the certification program was implemented and expressing the opinion that the more deterrents were placed on breeders, the less incentive there would be for new breeders to become involved and/or for existing breeders to stay involved. She concluded with a motion that the Washington-bred Certification Program be tabled for perpetuity. Webber seconded the motion. Discussion followed. The following thoughts were noted: Portland Meadows is on tenuous ground; the need for an incentive program for mare owners; the need to get breeders’ awards back to where they once were; the need for a lobbyist and/or shared lobbyist; the need to be included as part of sports betting (i.e., a percentage toward breeders’ awards); the need for a unified front and voice. After further discussion, it was moved and seconded (Hopp/Israel) to table the discussion regarding a certification program. The motion was approved.
Washington TOBA Award for 2018: The 2018 nominees that were presented were Coal Creek Farm (Barbara Ratcliff, 2015 TOBA winner), Todd and Shawn Hansen (Scatter Creek Training Center, 2016 TOBA winners), Homer Thoroughbreds, Darrin Paul, Quadrun Farms LLC, Richard Sena, and Shady Valley Ranch (Delores Christianson). After consideration of their statistics (presented as equally as possible by staffer Susan van Dyke), and with a preference for awarding the honor to a party that had not previously received the award, the Board unanimously voted Delores Christianson and Shady Valley Ranch as this year’s Washington TOBA honoree.
Next Meeting Date: The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 29, 2019.
It was moved and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried and the meeting was adjourned at 3:50 p.m.
April 29, 2019, Meeting Minutes
Pending approval at next meeting
Tuesday, May 21, 2019