Home About Us News Benevolence Links Classifieds Contact Us

Emerald Downs

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Washington Horse Racing Commission

President's Message - April 2010

Greetings from your WHBPA:

Here we go! It is time to kick off the 2010 racing season at Emerald Downs. Opening Day is Friday night,
April 9, and Emerald Downs is working toward having a great crowd by offering, as it did last year, 40 HD
televisions to 40 lucky patrons. It will be great to have the excitement and drama of live racing here
again. Six months off is a long time…

Tomorrow, entries will be taken by Emerald Downs for the Friday opener, and Wednesday is doubleentry
day for the weekend. As a critical reminder, many of our horses returning to the track have been
off for six months: remember that the 180 day rest/no claim rule is in existence. You can protect any
claiming horse that is off 180 days since its last race, if that was a claiming race, as long as the horse is
entered at or above the same level of its last race. However, and critically, on entry, the trainer MUST -
at that time - indicate the horse is exempt from claim. If the exemption is not made at entry, the horse
must race exposed to the potential of being claimed
. This is a nice rule to protect owners that winter
over their horses, or take their time bringing an injured horse back to the track, and it should not be
overlooked for claimers returning to the track early in the season.

I have been struck so far by the willingness of all members of our local industry to work together to see
if we can find ways to improve our mutual lot. I see it in the willingness of owners and trainers to
participate in some of our programs, and I see it in efforts by the management of Emerald Downs to
continue successful programs and to consider new ones, by the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders
and Owners Association to look at changing their sales strategies in the coming year, and by a continuing
willingness on the part of the Washington Horse Racing Commission to serve as a friend to racing while
responsibly regulating the industry in this state.

One of the programs that I was really impressed by is being run by owners Jeff Stoddard and Wayne
Nagai through their LTD Stables. I was driving to the track Sunday morning and listening to Joe Withee
interview Jeff Stoddard about his plan to introduce new owners to racing. What a program! He allows
new owners to have a 5% interest in the results of his horses for a month to month owner participation
fee of $80. The owners can come and go, but they get licensed and have access to all of the benefits of
being an owner, and undertake virtually no risk. The $80 monthly charge is predicated on a 5% share of
a locked-in monthly cost of $1,600; there is no included charge for the original cost of the horse,
carrying it, breaking it, training it up to the races. A most generous program by these folks, and one that
I would encourage others to make use of by sending potential new owners their way. Hats off to Jeff
and Wayne for a selfless way to introduce new folks to the joys of racing, with no downside risk. (Of
course, he may spoil a few people to the realities to the business, but the selfless idea is to try to expose
new owners to the experiences of ownership). Thanks, guys.

By exposing my email to you folks, I have been the recipient of a number of comments and suggestions,
almost all positive in their tenor. A lot of folks want to know “why can’t we…” or “shouldn’t we do…”. I don’t have all the answers; when I know one, I try to respond and explain it. When I don’t, I try to seek
an authoritative answer to get the correct response to the questioner. If you keep asking, I will keep
trying to respond to you.

I have had a few requests that seek to have some additional information on the local industry, how it is
funded, how it works, and “who works for who?” I will seek to address a number of those topics in the
future. In the meantime, I will continue to try to respond to individual comments and questions as they
come in.

In coming months, I will address a number of topics to include comments on the ethics of sales. While
not in my immediate “wheelhouse” as the head of our local HBPA, having purchased a number of horses
at sale, including at the recent January sale at Barretts, I have a number of concerns that I would like to
share in terms of how our industry, challenged as it is, finds ways to further divide itself by failing to
honestly and ethically treat its own members. As someone recently taken advantage of by what I
consider to be unethical behavior, I will have more on that later.

In my recent past messages, I have asked for your help. A number of you have responded, letting us
know that you will participate in programs that we will bring forward in partnership with Emerald
Downs. I will get back to those who have agreed to help late this month, and I will again ask the rest of
you to consider participating with us once again.

I again ask you to 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. We will make time to consider ideas that we
believe can improve our mutual lot in this industry.

As the gates at Emerald Downs open on Friday, I wish each of you a successful and safe 2010 campaign.
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.


Archive of President's Messages