March 2024

Minutes
Ohio HBPA Board Meeting
11:00 am, Friday, March 8th, 2024
Ohio HBPA Main Office, Grove City, OH

Members Present: President Joe Poole Directors: Nancy Adams, Linda Carrera, Bobby Cline, Mark Doering, Jeff Jarvis, George Sikora, Kristi Tumblin

Members Not Present: Directors: Susan Anderson, Bruce Miller, Brian Poe, Mike Rone

Others Present:
Executive Director Dave Basler, OHBPA Lobbyist Kyle Miller, Various Ohio Breeders

Call to Order/ Approval of Minutes:

President Poole called the meeting to order. After review Director Doering moved and Director Cline seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the January 12th, 2024 Ohio HBPA board of directors meeting. Motion passed.

President Poole moved and Director Cline seconded a motion that all directors be granted an excused absence for today’s meeting due to a switch in the original date the meeting had been scheduled. Motion passed.

Special Order of Business:

Kyle Miller from the OHBPA lobbying firm of Tom Pappas and Company updated the board on legislative happenings at the state house including the first hearing of a gaming study committee chaired by Representative Edwards which focused on I-Gaming and will include horse racing. The committee has schedule additional hearings including one on April 11th which will focus on horse racing at which the executive director will testify.

Executive Director’s Report:

The executive director provided updates on the various lawsuits still in play against HISA and how the National HBPA Case under appeal in the Fifth Circuit tied in in with several cases currently being decided by the US Supreme Court.

Discussion was held regarding the two barns in quarantine at Mahoning Valley. Barn 4 due to Strangles and Barn 8 due to EHV-1. Basler informed the board that all of the horses in Barn 4 would be retested via nasal swabs on March 12th and if all tests came back negative that barn would be released from quarantine. The Barn 8 quarantine is being handled by the Ohio Department of Agriculture as EHV is a mandatory reportable disease in Ohio. The barn will remain under quarantine through at least March 20th and no shipping in or out of the track could take place through that date by order of the ODA.

Extensive discussion was held regarding the Ohio HBPA providing financial support to owners of horses in the quarantine barns. The Ohio HBPA has already agreed to pay for the rounds of Strangles testing in those barns which to date has totaled over $35,000. Director Sikora moved and Director Doering seconded a motion to table any further discussion of support until more information about the length of the quarantines was available. Motion passed with Director Carrera abstaining and Director Jarvis voting no.

Discussion was held regarding several tracks in New Mexico which do not have current contracts with the New Mexico HBPA which has been acknowledged by 12th Circuit District Court Judge Daniel Bryant in a 2023 case as the recognized horsemen’s group under the IHA. Director Doering moved and President Poole seconded a motion that the executive director be authorized not to give the Ohio HBPA’s consent to export either the Thistledown or the Belterra Park signals to those tracks which do not a valid contract with the New Mexico HBPA. Motion passed.

Discussion was held regarding a letter drafted by National HBPA lobbyist The Ingram Group to Senator Vance in support of Vance sponsoring the RHSA. The position taken by the board is that Ohio HBPA would prefer state racing commission regulation of Ohio thoroughbred racing to federal regulation of the sport.

President Poole moved and Director Jarvis seconded a motion that the Ohio HBPA not send a letter to Senator Vance asking for him to sponsor the RHSA and the Ohio HBPA currently is not taking a position on the RHSA. Motion passed.

New Business
Purses and Wagering

The executive director updated the board regarding purse account balances detailing that Mahoning Valley had $2,996,433 available for purses as of February 1, 2024 up slightly from the previous February which doesn’t include $648,991 in funds escrowed for HISA assessments at Mahoning Valley under the stand-still agreement.

Thistledown had $6,098,860 available for purses as of December 1, 2023 down slightly from the $6,343,320 available on December 1, 2022 but this amount was wholly attributable to over $744,000 in purse funds escrowed for HISA assessments at Thistledown under the stand-still agreement.

Basler detailed that after working with accounting personnel at Belterra Park to correct the purse reports Belterra Park had $2,362,535 available for purses as of January 1, 2024 nearly $800,000 above the January, 2023 figure of $1,567,394.

Handouts were provided to the board showing VLT results for all three thoroughbred tracks in Ohio as well as previous VLT results for comparison purposes. Belterra Park showed a net win of $7,230,705 in February 2024 up over $200,000 from the $6,962,124 net win in February 2023. Thistledown had a net VLT win of $14,898,612 in February which was down nearly $600,000 from the prior February figure of $15,497,989. Mahoning Valley had a net VLT win of $13,989,156 in February 2024 up slightly from $13,547,180 net win the prior February.

Benevolence, Policies and Organization

Following discussion the board selected President Poole and Directors Sikora and Anderson to be the Nominating Committee for the 2024 Ohio HBPA board of directors election.

Following discussion Director Doering moved and President Poole seconded a motion that clarifying language be added to section 7.6 (b) (2) Election of the Board of Directors the Ohio HBPA Code of Regulations stating that one must own a minimum of 20% of a horse for it to be considered a start under this section. Motion passed.

Budget and Finance

Discussion was held regarding a letter requesting funding by the OTBO. Director Doering moved and Director Tumblin seconded a motion that the Ohio HBPA provide $18,000 from the Industry Initiative Fund to the purse account at Mahoning Valley Race Course to support the 2025 OTBO Sales Stake. $30,000 of the purse for that stake already comes from the purses account so with the nomination and starting fees the OTBO will not have to pay any funds for the purse for that race. Motion passed.

A group of Ohio breeders including Daryl Duncan, Craig Powell, Steve Chumney, Robert Rowe and Alan White made a presentation to the board regarding a sale they are planning for October 2024 stating they all planned to sell their yearlings at this sale as opposed to an OTBO sale and that they wanted to open the sale to all horsemen. Following extensive discussion Director Tumblin moved and Director Doering seconded a motion to provide up to a $35,000 loan from the Industry Initiative Fund to the breeders for costs of the sale to be repaid in full should the sale break even or make money or to repaid up to the amount of the loss should the sale not make money. Motion passed.

Director Doering moved and President Poole seconded a motion for the Ohio HBPA to place a full-page ad at a reduced cost of $1,800 per edition in the next three editions of the Horsemen’s Journal. Motion passed.

The date for the next OHBPA board meeting was set for Friday, May 17, 2024 beginning at 11:00am at the main OHBPA office.

Adjournment:

President Poole moved and Director Sikora seconded a motion to adjourn. Motion passed.