March 19, 2021
WTBOA Board Members Present: Pam Christopherson, Jim Engstrom, Mary Lou Griffin, Nina Hagen, Dana Halvorson, David Israel, Henry Leong, Greg Luce, Debra Pabst, Jennifer Webber.
WTBOA Board Members Absent: Duane Hopp, Petra Lewin.
WTBOA Staff Members Present: M. Anne Sweet.
The meeting was called to order at 12:22 p.m. via zoom by President Halvorson.
Halvorson reminded members that the board meetings are open only to members of the board of trustees despite the fact that it is held via zoom.
Previous Board Minutes: Minutes from the February 16, 2021 meeting were presented and reviewed. Griffin moved to approve the minutes as presented. Leong seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
Finance: There was not too much to report. The organization has billed Blue Chip Thoroughbreds for interest paid and legal fees incurred as a result of the effort it took to recoup payment for the horses that were purchased at the 2020 sale.
The WaHIP account now has $14,000 in it and payment for a horse breaking its maiden in an allowance, maiden special weight or stakes has been increased to $1,500. It will remain at $1,000 for horses that break their maiden for maiden claiming $25,000. The SIP account has $37,000 in it. The most that has been paid out is $34,000 in one year.
Northwest Race Series: The $3,500 late deadline for the NWRS is May 15. The $5,000 fee will be due June 25. The first race in the NWRS is July 18.
Sales: The sale has been scheduled for August 24. Deadline for “early bird” entries is Friday, March 26.
Sweet, Halvorson and Webber met with Simon Wells from Xcira last week and discussed using their company for the online bidding platform. Webber is looking into COVID-related grants to help with the startup costs that would be associated with Xcira. It has not been determined yet if the sales committee will elect to stay with Proxibid or move to Xcira. The next sales committee meeting is April 13.
Publications: Nothing to report, working on online spring issue which will focus mainly on the 2020 champions.
WHRC/Emerald Downs update: Emerald Downs has submitted a COVID protocols plan to the Governors’ office and is planning to have fans during the live races.
Working to get Johnson and Johnson vaccines to backstretch workers via the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.
Stakes schedule has been approved and the 10 percent purse increase that was implemented at the end of last season was maintained.
The bill modeled after the Texas sales tax bill has died. They are hopeful to bring it back next year.
Bill 1022 that would fund the WHRC is still moving forward and is receiving due pass recommendations.
The national HBPA has filed a lawsuit against the federal HISA (Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act) legislation. There has been no direct guidance on what the federal legislation will be or how it will be financed.
The Sun Downs meet has been officially cancelled for 2021 due to the fairgrounds being used for COVID testing.
One of Emerald Downs’ main OTB sites is not operational and they was researching other facilities.
Industry Promotional Video: Wes Petree has been communicating with Lewin recently. Progress has been slow due to many of the Emerald Downs employees being on furlough. Due to the return of live racing, the video department is scrambling to get ready and cannot justify allocating time and resources to the industry video at this time. They are willing to assist later on as time permits.
The Emerald Downs barn area is in desperate need of grooms and exercise riders.
Awards Presentation: Halvorson reported that for the most part it went well. There will around 100 participants. Sweet did a fantastic job. There was a slight issue with a zoom bomber which was unfortunate. Sweet was very appreciative of all of the sponsors for the event.
Fundraiser Auction: Scheduled for April 12-18. Will be online via Proxibid. Still hoping to procure more donations.
Goals and Initiatives: Emerald Downs is part of the NYRA group that negotiates rates with the simulcast companies. They are currently in negotiations to try to lower take-out rates.
Luce reported that he is still trying to gain funding through PPP (Payroll Protection Program loans backed by the Small Business Administration), but feels that we are too late as all the funds are tapped out. Furthermore, the program ends March 31. Sweet checked with Bank of America. [Subsequently, the deadline was extended and Luce is working on the loan application.]
If Emerald Downs’ handle is exceeds expectations, Emerald may bring back WA Cup races that were eliminated from the stakes schedule.
There was a long discussion regarding the elimination of the WA Cup races. Webber will contact Ziegler to set up a meeting.
The next board meeting is scheduled for May 14 at 12:15pm via Zoom. It will be preceded by the finance committee meeting at 11.
Meeting was adjourned at 2:03pm. Motioned by Pabst, seconded by Leong.
May 21, 2021, Meeting Minutes
Pending approval at next meeting
Friday, July 16, 2021