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Emerald Downs

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Washington Horse Racing Commission

President's Message - March 2010

Late Winter Greetings from your WHBPA:

Monday, March 1 started the 29th day of training at Emerald Downs in preparation for the coming season. We are at about 40 days away from the start of the 2010 season!

WHBPA general membership meetingThis past weekend, we held our first informal general meeting for the WHBPA at the Quarter Chute. On behalf of our entire board, I would like to offer our thanks to those of you who attended. This meeting is part of various attempts on our part to increase communication with our members and to seek their assistance in implementing programs.

I strongly believe it is important that we increase our communication amongst ourselves. We have tried hard to obtain email addresses for our members, and we have sent out communications more frequently than monthly to keep people apprised of what we are doing. However, we have email addresses for only 40% of our members, and of those that we do send out, only 40% are opened. So, that means that we still have a long way to go to increase communication with our members, and I am asking you, those who read this, for your help. When speaking with your fellow horsemen, ask that they get their email addresses in to us, and ask them to open their email from us and read it.

To briefly recap that which we covered during the meeting, the more important points follow:

  • We provided an overview of the function of the WHBPA, both as to its administrative side and its benevolence side;
  • We discussed current issues relating to the Washington State Horse Racing Commission, such as the uncoupling of entries, the 180 day rest / no-claim rule, and other updates;
  • We discussed current issues involving Emerald Downs, to include the 2010 entry procedures, the economic development contribution by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, the “Wa-Bred stimulus” allowing for double wins at the $4,000, $7,500, and $12,500 N2L levels;
  • We discussed some of our own WHBPA initiatives for the coming year, such as a focus on factual communication with members, trying to reduce backside rumors, the website, the seeking of email addresses and the request to open them, and our intention to hold two more meetings during the year;
  • We discussed the intention to work toward having our industry be fully cooperative in these difficult economic times;
  • We discussed some of the challenges that we face and some of the actions that we have taken and programs that we are planning to make ownership accessible, to enhance information on wagering, and to work with local media to enhance coverage of and information regarding our product;

Dana Halvorson from the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association and Jack Hodge from Emerald Downs joined us and provided information regarding their entities (some of those topics listed above were addressed by Jack);

We asked questions of the members, as to what they want from the WHBPA, and we took questions from the members; and

We asked for your help. We need your help in providing us with ideas, and with implementing ours. We want you to use us as a resource, and we want you to get factual information to assist in resolving inaccurate, unnecessary, and often demoralizing rumors.

The same date, February 27, the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association held their annual awards banquet. It was a pleasant evening during which many of our members were recognized for having had excellent years and making contributions to the industry. It was exceptionally wellattended, which was most welcome in light of the economic factors that have affected all of us.

As part of their presentations, a (surprise) special award was made to our Executive Director, MaryAnn O’Connell, recognizing her many and significant contributions to the industry over a number of years. I was pleased to have been asked to present the award on behalf of the WTBOA, which took it upon itself to honor MaryAnn for an unequaled and unrelenting pursuit of making things better for our horsemen and the employees of our horsemen, on both a local and national stage. It was nice for me to be part of that award. In addition to recognition of the connections of many successful Washington-bred horses, other special awards went to Don Munger, for his many decades of ongoing involvement in many facets of the industry, and Dr. Bud Hallowell, a vet, breeder, and friend to the industry for many decades as well, and currently a member of theWashington Horse Racing Commission.

To conclude this message, I want to renew two items that I have addressed before, at the risk of continuing to be too wordy for some of my readers.

I would like to remind WHBPA members that the issue of the unwanted horse is going to continue to be prominent as a public relations issue for our industry. I would like to encourage everyone to sign up for participation in the “Prodigious Fund” at Emerald Downs, with a fixed amount per start being deducted from your owner or trainer account. Emerald Downs is matching contributions made by horsemen to that fund, so your contributions are worth $200 for every $100 you designate.

Second, I would like to renew my “ask” from last month’s message, but to expand it. We have had some great response to our (temporarily named) “Win A Horse” promotion and to the “Owner for a Day” promotion, and I thank those of you who have indicated a willingness to pitch in. We will contact you when the contest details are firmed up with Emerald Downs. However, if you did not see the pitch last month, please contact me or the WHBPA office to get more information. The more we do in this regard, the better we can spread the experience to others.

I would also like to “ask” you for your ideas and participation in ours. We need to continue to move in a direction of consideration, effort, and action – without those things we become simply spectators to what fate and others bring about to us.

Send me your ideas and thoughts on ways that we can attract new owners, new and returning bettors, and others into the fold of our industry. There is little effort in providing us and idea, and if we feel it is one that might be implementable, based upon expected result and the costs to promote or try it, we will consider it. Your board has 11 well-intentioned members to it, but we do not and cannot have but a small percentage of the good ideas to be formed out there. We will always make time to consider ideas that we believe can improve our mutual lot in this industry.

If you have questions with things that your WHBPA can assist you with, 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.

Ron Maus

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


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