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Emerald Downs

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Washington Horse Racing Commission

President's Message - September 2, 2010

Greetings from your WHBPA:

Our last month of the season is upon us. Good luck to everyone in “get away month.” I have a more limited number of topics to address this time, so here they are:

Annual Meeting

We have called our Annual Meeting of the members of the Washington HBPA for Tuesday evening, September 14th, at 6:00 p.m., at Emerald Downs. We will be on the 4th floor. A pasta dinner will be provided to those who show up, but we do ask that you let us know if you are coming for dinner, as we want to have enough for those who show up, and we want to fairly pay our bill to Emerald Downs. I hope to start our business at 6:30, so please come on time to enjoy the meal. Our board has met, and the following agenda is expected to be followed during the meeting:

  • After welcoming you, I will introduce the members of the board present

  • The various committee chairs will provide you with a very brief report as to the status of what they have been involved with during the year (Our standing committees include Condition Book, Track and Safety, By-Laws, Legislative, and Finance).

  • The board has identified a number of updates to the by-laws, one of which requires member approval. We will seek approval for that change during the meeting.

  • We will ask our Executive Director to give you a brief report on national issues and local benevolence.

  • I will give my view of “the state of the State” and provide you some thoughts on what I try to do in my position.

  • And, prior to adjourning, we will field questions that are brought to us by the members.

My intention is that all presentations will be brief in nature, and that we will allow your questions to be the driver of the length of the meeting. We look forward to seeing you there.

September Initiatives

Over the course of the year, members of the board have identified various ideas which we believe might be of use in trying to see if we can have some influence on attendance and wagering at the track. We have discussed this with Emerald Downs, and we have come up with some programs that we are sponsoring in hopes of learning, with Emerald Downs, if there are alternative programs to try to stimulate added attendance. These are the “Final Fridays” events, and will be carried out over the last three weeks of the season.

First, even before the Final Fridays, we have asked that Emerald Downs try a 50 cent pick 4. They have agreed to do so, and have expanded it beyond our original idea. It will commence this weekend, so consider playing it, and touting it to others. This should be a good way to see if the pick 4 is price sensitive, and if we can help or hurt the pool by lowering the cost to play a single ticket. IF the pools pick up, we will consider creating a guaranteed pot for the late pick 4 on our Final Fridays.

Next, we are sponsoring a promotion for each of the last three Final Fridays in the month. Emerald Downs will come up with a moniker for it, but essentially it will be “Free Fridays, brought to you by the Horsemen ofWashington.” We will provide Free Admission on September 10, 17, and 24.

At the time of this writing, we still need to obtain Commission approval for one of our ideas, a “real money” Survivor-style handicapping contest, with a prize pool spiked by the WHBPA. Assuming approval, on those Final Fridays, Emerald Downs will put on a handicapping contest that requires a person to be on site at the track each of those Fridays, bet every race on the cards on each of those days, with a nice prize pool which we will enhance. We are hoping that this will create a “buzz” as the prize pool can be significant if enough players are “in” the tournament. [By the way, if you are going to be in attendance each of those days, this is going to be a very good competition to be in, as normal
psychology would say that people will drop out each week based upon not doing too well the prior week. The Survivor aspect of this thing means those around at the end have a real shot at winning some BIG bucks!].

Last, we are also going to have music on at least two of those Fridays, and it will be presented differently than just “in the park.” We will have the bands near the Winner’s Circle, weather permitting, and playing between races (but not to the disruption of the race process). I understand that one band will do Rock ‘n Roll cover songs, and that band for September 24, The Concrete Cowboys out of Portland, will be playing “Hard Country.” So, on September 24, put on your hats ‘n boots, and come on out!

The idea of trying these initiatives is to see what might work. Of course, our success and failures will be dependent upon the weather, and on our own ability “to get the word out,” so please help in that regard.

Last Thoughts

In closing, I just want to reiterate one of my personal ongoing themes. Don’t participate in rumors. Last week one of our board members told me of yet another rumor circulating on the backside. Of course, like so many, it was both false and ridiculous. How about we adopt an HBPA member policy that before we personally spread a story we learn if it is true? We live in challenging economic times and challenging times for our industry, so spreading around false stories does nothing for us but contribute to more angst and more potential loss from the industry.

Thank you for your support of our efforts and programs.

The board looks forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting.

Ron Maus

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

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