September 9, 2010
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Present: B. Alexander, T. Barrett, D. Bolenbaugh, B. Boyd, M. Breuer-Bertera, C. Cary‑Davidson, P. Christou, B. Gira, F. Kayden, M. Sweeney
Absent: M. Walker
Associates: M. Knight, H. Stackpole, P. Stommen
President Boyd called the meeting to order at 12.30 p.m. A moment of silence was observed in memory of John Curren, Richard Elconin, Gary Groen, Richard Keyes, Patty McCann, James H. Rousseau, and Robert Shell. Motion was made by Breuer-Bertera, supported by Barrett, to approve the minutes of the June 8, 2010, board meeting; motion passed unanimously. Motion was made by Breuer-Bertera, supported by Cary-Davidson, to excuse the absence of Walker; motion passed unanimously. (Editor’s Note: Following the June MHHA Board Meeting, Aaron Bennett resigned his position on the Board in the Breeder’s category. If someone is appointed by the board to fill that position, they will serve until the January 2011 Annual Meeting. If another member chooses to run for the seat at that time, an election will be held; with the appointed member being considered the incumbent. The term of that board seat expires in January 2012)
Upon motion by Cary-Davidson, supported by Kayden, the Board adjouned to Executive Session at 12:35 to discuss personnel issues. The Board returned to regular session at 1:45 p.m.
Legislative: Knight reported that the Michigan Gaming Control Board has presented a report to the legislature regarding the status of the Office of Racing Commissioner Transfer to MGCB. The report may be viewed at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mgcb/2010_09_01_HB5407_Report_331630_7.pdf.
It is expected that the 2011 Budget will be adopted by 10/1/10. Knight will attend a meeting tomorrow on two pieces of legislation, initiated by Representative Mike Huckleberry, which would impact horse racing. One would reallocate a portion of the current casino tax to the Ag. Equine Fund, and the other would authorize account wagering, internet wagering, OTB’s, and instant racing machines. Knight does not expect movement on the bills because of the limited timeframe of the remaining legislative session.
Richard Kalm’s position as Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board is a gubernatorial appointment; it is expected that a new Executive Director will be appointed within the first two years of the new administration.
In current polls, Republican candidate, Rick Snyder, holds a 20 percent advantage over Democrat Virg Bernero. Knight expects that this percentage will decrease significantly approaching the November election. Tom Redmond, Editor of the MHHA magazine, has written a letter to each candidate. The letter is published in the Septmember issue, and any responses received from either candidate will be published in the October issue. Knight stressed that every MHHA member should take advantage of any opportunity to meet or fundraise for any candidate of their choice for November election. Boyd has invited Snyder to attend the Hillsdale County Fair on 9/27, which is Governor’s Day. Oldfield Farm will hold a Meet and Greet/Fundraiser on 10/6 for Bruce Caswell, who is running for state Senate in the 16th District, and Nancy Jenkins, who is running for state Representative in the 57th District.
Since there will be 58 new State Representatives and 29 new Senators, the MHHA-IPC will require funding to introduce these new legislators to our industry. Rakieten will research the legal requirements for PAC fundraising and report at the October meeting.
Michigan Harness/Thoroughbred Alliance
Barrett met with Gary Tinkle, Executive Director, and Bobbie Barron, President, of the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association on 8/25 at Pinnacle Park. Recent media reports indicate that Pinnacle is in financial difficulty. Also, the thoroughbred regulatory costs are higher than originally projected by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, resulting in a $57,000 shortfall for oversight of live racing. The MGCB has cancelled the remaining 2010 live race dates at Pinnacle. (Editors Note: on 9/10, the MiHBPA, with assistance from the Michigan Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association reached an agreement with MGCB to provide funding and allow live racing to continue at least through 10/12.) It is possible that Pinnacle will apply for mixed breed dates for 2011.
Colt Stakes: The Colt Stake Fund is currently running under budget; there is a projected surplus of approximately $50,000.
Inclement weather and poor track conditions forced the cancellation of the entire Kinross program. The Fedele Fauri Futurity purses were split equally between the horses drawn in to race. The Kinross Bronze colt stakes, which had been scheduled for 9/3, have been rescheduled for Allegan on 9/17 and will be raced as previously drawn.
Hazel Park: After the first 60 days of the meet, average live handle is $79,425; compared to $84,912 last year. Average export handle is $111,051; compared to $113,911 last year. Average daily purses are $50,691; compared to $60,580 last year. There have been 885 races at Hazel Park in 2010; compared to 846 in 2009. Simulcast handle at Hazel Park is down approximately 3.4 percent from last year.
Hazel Park will provide sandwiches to the horsemen on Sires Stakes day from 3-5 p.m.; MHHA will provide pizza later in the evening.
Dan Adkins, from Hazel Park, addressed the board by conference call. He will meet on 9/14 with representatives from the MHHA, Sports Creek, Northville, and the Teamster’s union to discuss his proposed legislation to revise the Racing Law of 1995.
Northville Racing Corporation: The MHHA reached agreement with NRC to continue stabling at the track. Stall rent will be $150 per month, and stalls must be vacated at the end of the NRC meet. Purses are projected at $31,000 per day.
Date Applications: Barrett, Boyd, and Rakieten attended a meeting in August with representatives from the race tracks to discuss date applications for 2011. Two calendar scenarios were developed and presented to the board for discussion. At this time, there has not been a hearing scheduled on date applications. Rakieten will schedule a meeting with Richard Kalm, Executive Director of the Gaming Control Board, to discuss regulatory costs as related to total number of dates applied for.
Committees: Boyd revised the committee assignment list. Each chairperson gave a brief report on their committee activities. (Kayden left at 4:20 p.m.)
Financial: The board reviewed comparative financial statements from July 2009 and 2010. Association revenue is down approximately 15 percent from 2009. Barrett emphasized that the Association needs to continue cost containment wherever possible.
Website: Phil Stommen, was hired in June as the new Horsemen’s Representative/Web Content Manager. He has also incorporated a Face Book page into the website. Stommen reported that he is working on a new navigation structure for the website to accommodate increasing amounts of information and future needs. With the growth of the website, it is probable that the MHHA magazine will discontinue being published monthly; but possibly go to a quarterly format in an effort to reduce costs.
The next board meeting will be on 10/5 at 12:30 p.m. There being no further business to come before the board and upon motion by Breuer-Bertera, supported by Sweeney, meeting was adjourned at 5:25 p.m.
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