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Emerald Downs

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Washington Horse Racing Commission

President's Message - January 2010

Greetings to the members of the WHBPA. Happy New Year! And, let us collectively put good karma forward in hopes of making it a Happy and successful New Year for all within our membership, as well as for our industry’s and country’s economic recovery.

The Holidays are behind us, and we can now start looking-forward to the upcoming racing season. Emerald Downs will start receiving horses in early February, with racing to commence in the later part of April. The exact dates have not yet been set, and will be part of a submission by Emerald Downs to the Racing Commission later this month.

We are very happy to announce that we have launched our own website, which can be accessed at www.whbpa.com, and I encourage each of you to take a look. It is our intention to provide a fair amount of information there as a resource to you. We intend to post our by-laws; our articles of incorporation; a calendar of events; a summary of minutes of our board and general meetings; the relevant portions of the Washington Administrative Codes that apply to horse racing; a representation of how our purse structure works; links to other relevant websites in the industry; and the current and prior versions of this message. Please feel encouraged to give us some feedback on the site; remember it is a work in progress and is being set up by persons not expert in web design, so I would appreciate criticisms of the constructive type at this juncture...

As of this writing, we do not have word of what assistance, if any, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe will provide our industry for our purses, as part of their Economic Development plan. We are hopeful to have that information in place prior to my next message to you; once we have that in hand, we will communicate it to our members.

As I prepare this, Emerald Downs has not yet finalized its plan for race dates and purses; but as I indicated above, it will be seeking its intended dates from the Washington Horse Racing Commission later this month. Watch the website for an update on race days following the January 14 Commission meeting.

The Board held a “special meeting” in early December to discuss topics of “renewal of the industry.” The two key topics that were discussed related to the importance of both the bettor and the owner, and finding ways of increasing participation of each now and going forward.

A number of ideas were discussed in our meeting, of varying levels of interest and potential impact. As we flush out some of those ideas, we will be asking for your involvement, your ideas, and your assistance in making them work. More will follow, likely in the next couple of months.

To further enhance our communication with you, we will be keeping one of my promises during the election by holding three general meetings during the year. Two of these will be informal in terms of what we provide to those in attendance, and one will reflect our traditional general meeting with a meal served. I hope to hold an initial general meeting toward the end of February, or perhaps in early March. Information on the time and place of that meeting will follow, both via email in my February message to you, as well as by posting of flyers around the racetrack.

The board will next meet again in February, when we hope that all of our trainers are back up here for taking charge of the horses in their care. Until then, if you have questions, please feel encouraged to contact the WHBPA office, at (253) 804-6822. Either Lanna or MaryAnn will be happy to be of assistance to you.

The New Year brings with it the continuation of challenges that we have faced in the past, and will certainly bring new ones. As our industry requires new blood “at the windows” and in the ranks of the ownership, I would encourage you to make a resolution to expand the listing of your contacts that you have brought to the track, and endeavor to give them a good experience, and showing them why it is that you love to be involved in racing.

A recent study on the interest people take in going to events concludes that the quality of the facility holding the event, of whatever type, greatly influences people’s perception of the event and of the person(s) who have invited or hosted them. There are few facilities of any sort that are as impressive and maintained as well as Emerald Downs is. Plan on doing your best to take a potential new fan to the track; don’t be shy about pointing out how clean and well-maintained the facility is. Unless one is excited to view the classic tracks of Santa Anita, Del Mar, Churchill Downs or Saratoga, there is simply no facility as inviting and clean as the one in our own backyard.

Enjoy the winter; it will be over soon enough.

Ron Maus

If you have comments or questions, I can be reached at ron@buffalostables.com.


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