June 22, 2011
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Present: B. Alexander, D. Bolenbaugh, B. Boyd, M. Breuer-Bertera, P. Christou, K. Crawford, B. Gira, D. Hartsook, F. Kayden, R. Niccum, M. Sweeney
Associates: M. Knight, D. Rakieten, H. Stackpole
Guests: M. Frederick, G. Kutlenios, , R. Stimac, G. Tinkle
President Boyd called the meeting to order at 11:05 a.m. A moment of silence was observed in memory of James Drudge, Elsie Johnson, and R. J. Williams. The May Board Meeting minutes were corrected to show Hartsook present and Kayden absent. Motion was made by Sweeney, supported by Crawford, to approve the minutes of the May 18, 2011, board meeting as corrected; motion passed unanimously
Knight reported to the Board that attempts to secure revenues for the Gaming Control Board and Laboratory through the State Service Fee Fund in the 2012 Budget were not successful. Language to accomplish this was part of the original Senate Budget Bill, but was removed before the final Budget was passed. Knight encouraged the Board that he was still optimistic that a Bill would be introduced shortly to do the same. (House Bill 4849 was introduced by Representative Cindy Denby on 6/30/11)
(Breuer-Bertera entered at 11:55)
Boyd shared the 2012 Ag. Budget breakdown with the board. He expressed his tremendous concern because of the continual decline in revenue. Boyd reported that Cinda Karlick from the Michigan Department of Agriculture projects 2012 revenue at $4M. Unfortunately, preferred expenses of MGCB, Department of Ag. oversight, and Laboratory expenses amount to over $3.5M; leaving limited funds for Sires Stakes, Colt Stakes, and Overnight purses and Breeders Awards. Kayden provided a spreadsheet of the proposed Ag. Equine Development Fund 2012 spending plan. Total line item appropriations are $6,089,600; but anticipated revenue to the Fund will be approximately 30 percent lower.
Boyd reviewed the legislation being proposed by Hazel Park. The board discussed the main requirements that would be necessary in such legislation for the MHHA to support it. Stackpole will prepare a written draft of these requirements for presentation to Dan Adkins, Hazel Park.
Knight and Mike Frederick, legislative consultant for the Michigan HBPA Thoroughbred horsemen’s association, are scheduled to meet next week with Dave Marley, the Governor’s legal counsel responsible for horse racing. Boyd requested that they introduce the idea of a possible impact fee for horse racing from the seven new tribal compacts which will be negotiated over the next two years.
Colt Stakes and Futurities: Boyd reported that with efficiencies and cost savings within the Ag. Equine fund that all 2011 budget line items will be fully funded, and additional money will be added to the Sires Stakes final purses. Motion by Bolenbaugh, supported by Sweeney, that colt stake purses be increased to their original projection of Platinum $8,500; Silver $6,200; and Bronze $3,800; motion passed unanimously.
There is a 50 percent reduction in the number of two and three-year old futurity nominations for 2012.
Representative Cindy Denby joined the meeting by phone, and explained that she is trying to be a spokesperson for the horse racing industry to other legislators. She emphasized the need for horsemen to meet with their individual legislators to educate them about our business. She believes the Appropriations Committee is supportive of utilizing $4 million from the State Services Fee fund for oversight of horse racing.
Representatives from the MiHBPA were in attendance. They have formed a Flat Track Horse Racing Alliance to include all racing breeds other than Standardbreds (Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Arabs, Paints); and are planning to conduct a 30-day meet at Mt. Pleasant Meadows, but do not have plans for where they will race in Michigan beyond 2011.
The Gaming Control Board has issued an order freezing distributions from the Thoroughbred simulcast purse pool account until a Thoroughbred race meeting license is issued. SB433 and SB434 have recently been introduced in the Senate by Joe Hune and the House by Cindy Denby, which would allow Thoroughbred Breeder’s Awards to be paid to Michigan-bred horses who are racing out of state in 2011.
After the MiHBPA Board has met to discuss Adkins proposed legislation, a meeting will be scheduled with representatives from all breeds.
Hazel Park: Through 21 days of the live meet, average daily live handle is $77,882, compared to $74,886 in 2010; average export handle is $ 97,842, compared to 92,985 in 2010, and average daily purses are $50,134, compared to $50,595 in 2010.
The track is no longer open for training on Tuesdays, due to lack of participation.
Rakieten announced that on Friday, 7/1, MHHA and Hazel Park will host a legislative night with several legislators in attendance for dinner and the races. On Saturday, 7/2, a Richard Elconin memorial race and blanket presentation will be held; several Elconin family members will be present. The second edition of “Back to the Track,” the nationwide USTA promotion, will be held on Saturday, July 16.
Rakieten will schedule a meeting in August with representatives from all Michigan harness tracks to discuss race date applications.
Old Business: Stommen reported that the rolling banner trailer wraps will be installed on three trailers by the first week of July. The website referenced in the banner is in place.
The next board meeting will be on Thursday, September 8, at 12:30 p.m. There being no further business to come before the board and upon motion by Kayden, supported by Hartsook, the meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.
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