President's Message - March 10
Greetings to the members of the WHBPA:
After missing by a short head this afternoon at Golden Gate Fields, I am many thousands of dollars behind where I thought I might be. Damn that Russell Baze. To think that I have cheered for him on numerous occasions and even had my picture taken with him a time or two!
Yet for all of the disappointment that I felt earlier (at least my horse ran a very good race) the exhilaration that I felt as they turned for home and ran head and head down the lane was every bit as good as Easy Goer and Sunday Silence (for those who had money on either my horse or the winner, that is).
That exhilaration is what puts each of us in this game, and keeps many of us here. While the times are tough, do what you can to feel that rush. It makes the broken fences, the busted gates, the chewed-up anythings, and the monthly bills just that much easier to take…
We are now just starting our second month of training at Emerald Downs. Despite the sluggish economy, we have a good number of horses on the grounds, and, with the coming end of the meets in Portland and Phoenix, we expect an influx of horses that will get our season underway.
We will soon be having a general meeting, as we did last spring, at the Quarter Chute Café. We want to do this at a time that is early enough to get our season’s message out to our trainers, but late enough that many of them will be here – we still have a number in Oregon and Arizona that we expect to join us late this month or early next. We will keep you apprised once we get that called.
Since our last message, we have enjoyed the annual Washington-Bred Awards Banquet put on by the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, with significant help from Emerald Downs and some assistance from the WHBPA. They had an outstanding turnout of around 250 people, and the feeling in the room was a bit lighter than we have felt of late. Maybe, just maybe, this is the start of the consumer confidence that we all need to get our economy and game turned around. Congratulations and Well-done! to our friends at the WTBOA.
I attended the pre-sale preview at the Pegasus complex: what an incredible and beautiful facility. The sale there was a huge success by any measure; again, we can hope that this is a bell-weather sign of improvement in our fortunes. Congratulations to Dr. Mark Dedomenico, Glenn Todd, and Mike Puhich for putting on a great show and having a very successful event. And further congratulations to Dr. Dedomenico for being named to the board of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.
This morning I attended the March meeting of the Washington Horse Racing Commission, along with our board member Karla Laird, who dutifully attends those meetings, along with our staff, MaryAnn and Lanna. Among the day’s topics was an attempt to keep the Class C racing dates alive in Walla Walla, Waitsburg, and Dayton. It is incredible to note that those meets have been running for nearly a century in two venues, and well more than a century in the other. The Class C racing dates cannot be regulated by the Commission without the funds to do so, and the Commission has run out of funding to do that. Emergency effort on a bill is taking place in Olympia that would allow the meets to continue, IF the funding for the Commission’s supervision is paid for by the meets’ themselves. I wish them the best of success in continuing.
As mentioned in my February 1 message to you, certain members of your WHBPA are involved with Emerald Downs to put on a significant new event on Friday, April 1, to raise funds in support of the Backstretch Clubhouse, which provides outreach and support for the child care center at Emerald Downs. This is a charitable organization, and has been supported through the donations and good will of horsemen and women since its beginnings in 1998.
If you can, please plan to attend the event, which will be a Casino Night and Auction event. We can still use sponsors, and we can still use auction items, so please consider sponsoring a gaming table, or providing some item of value for the benefit of the entity. My wife Debbie and I have agreed to sponsor a gaming table and we have contributed some auction items, so we are, this time at least, doing as we ask. Please consider helping out, as your help goes to those who are less fortunate, and are within our immediate industry community.
I will send another message out when we schedule up our general meeting. In the meantime, good luck and good head-bobs to each of you.