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Emerald Downs

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Washington Horse Racing Commission

President's Message - December 18

Greetings from your WHBPA:

Greetings to the members of the WHBPA. Merry Christmas! - to those that celebrate this season - and a belated Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate those holy days, and a very Happy, Prosperous, and Healthy New Year to all.

As I write this message, December 18, in the late afternoon following a severe windstorm in Enumclaw, I am stunned by the power of what hit here last night, but so very grateful, nonetheless. My pasture, which until last night had four very sturdy and heavy loafing sheds, was turned into a nightmare for us this morning. Three of those sheds were on their backs, and one was completely blown apart, and in several piles of debris, some across Highway 169. Horses were loose, but thankfully wanted to stay by their buddies. Parts of our fences were destroyed when the loafing sheds rolled over them, and the lines for our water tanks were severed and allowed the water to be lost. My shock and dismay this morning were extreme (as is the soreness that I feel from the hard work that I am so unaccustomed to anymore, moving debris, cutting fallen trees, and dragging branches). However, having said that, I am still very grateful that none of our horses were visibly hurt, and the trees that fell did so only “near” our home and barn, and not on either. We will survive this, and this morning, while surveying the damage, I took the time to say a silent prayer of gratitude for what it is that we do have.

I feel the same way about the horse racing industry in the nation and in Washington. As an industry, we have taken some very tough hits in the last few years, and it is unclear when things will reverse themselves. Nonetheless, there is so much to be grateful for, and, as it is Christmas, I want to reflect upon those things.

Setting aside, for the moment, the gratefulness that I feel for the significant help I received today, I am grateful for the fact that Jerry and Ann Moss chose to race their beautiful mare Zenyatta again this year, and that she performed the way she did, exposing millions of people who were not previously interested in our industry to its majesty, beauty and thrills. I am grateful that the “mainstream” media caught on and took the chance to hype her, with coverage on 60 Minutes and other outlets not usually accustomed to following our sport. We need the national consciousness to again embrace horseracing.

I am grateful for and to those of you who will receive and read this message. Many of you have responded to previous communications from me, raising questions, challenging us in some areas, and occasionally giving us a bit of an “atta boy.” We truly do appreciate hearing from you, as it allows us to know that these messages are not just sent out into the dark of cyberspace, missing their targets.

I am grateful for those of us who stay in our struggling industry. Breeders, owners, trainers, bettors, fans - one and all. Each needing the other to succeed, even if success at present cannot be measured in the samemanner it has been in the past.

I am grateful, and I would hope our entire industry would be as well, for the continuing operation of Emerald Downs, a place to race that is safe, clean on the front side and back side, managed by people who do care about the experience of the owner, trainer, bettor, and fan. They have worked closely with their landlord, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, to work toward an Economic Development program that has, over the past several years, provided funds for an augmented purse structure. I am very grateful for the support of the Tribe, as I know each of you are as well. Ron Crockett and his team have struggled in this economy and in the highly competitive gambling environment, and despite real and significant
operating losses, have endeavored to continue to provide us all with a first-class experience. I have spent a fair amount of time with many members of his management team, and, for fear of missing someone, I do not want to call out names in this message. Thank you, Ron, and team, for keeping the light on for us.

Switching gears, your board will hold a meeting on December 22. It has been a few months since we were last together, and we need to catch up on some administrative functions. We will also be welcoming Diane Garrison to our board, as she will take the place of Mike Chambers, who has vacated his position on the board. I also want to thank our board, for whose support and willingness to find ways to move forward - rather than simply grousing about the changes from past years and wallowing in current misery - I am also most grateful.

Our staff, MaryAnn and Lanna, cheerfully go about the business of helping everyone ready for the upcoming racing season. In addition to their regular duties, which is more than a full time job during the meeting months, they have been working hard to pack up the “real” archives, throw out a few thousand pounds of paper no longer needed, and organize a move to our new office, which is located in the Morris J. Alhadeff building, alongside our compatriots at the WTBOA. Thank you, ladies, you are the true backbone of this organization.

Enjoy your Holidays! As always, the end of the year brings opportunity to be reflective and thankful for our blessings; I just got an early start today. The New Year brings an opportunity to be reflective and to resolve to do better in the time ahead. As always, your Washington HBPA will bemaking an effort to do that.

Ron Maus

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

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