Ohio HBPA Board Meeting
11:00 am, Friday, November 10th, 2023
Ohio HBPA Main Office, Grove City, OH
Members Present: President Joe Poole Directors: Nancy Adams, Susan Anderson, Linda Carrera, Bobby Cline, Mark Doering, Jeff Jarvis, Bruce Miller, Brian Poe, Mike Rone, George Sikora, Kristi Tumblin
Executive Director Dave Basler, OHBPA Lobbyist Hunter Wright, OTBO Executive Director Mike Annechino
Call to Order/ Approval of Minutes:
President Poole called the meeting to order. After review President Poole moved and Director Cline seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the September 15th, 2023 Ohio HBPA board of directors meeting. Motion passed.
Special Order of Business:
Ohio HBPA lobbyist Hunter Wright updated the board on legislative happenings at the state house including the formation of a gaming study committee which will be headed by Representative Edwards and will include horse racing. The committee is expected to have several meetings beginning in February 2024.
Executive Director’s Report:
The executive director provided updates on the various lawsuits still in play against HISA and informed the board that the stand-still agreement between the OHBPA and HISA preventing HISA from assessing any per start fees against owners at Ohio tracks had been signed and is currently in effect.
The executive director updated the board regarding purse account balances detailing that Mahoning Valley had $6,754,915 available for purses as of November 1, 2023 down approximately $500,000 from the previous November with over $300,000 of that amount attributable to funds escrowed for HISA assessments under the stand-still agreement.
Basler detailed that he was working with accounting personnel at Belterra Park to correct the purse reports which currently did not show export or international fixed odds purse monies earned but that the track ended the meet ahead of where they were the previous year in the purse account due to the OHPBA lawsuit settlement.
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 $6,893,054 in October 2023 up slightly from $6,618,147 in October 2022. This was the second consecutive month of gains following sixth consecutive months when the net win has decreased year over year at Belterra. Thistledown had a net VLT win of $14,630,621 in October essentially flat from the prior October figure of $14,614,342 . Mahoning Valley had a net VLT win of $13,454,262 in October down slightly from $13,968,147 the prior October.
Discussion was held regarding the 2024 OTF program which included a handout from the executive director of the proposed budget for the program in 2024. Director Doering moved and Director Anderson seconded a motion that the Ohio HBPA continue to guarantee funding for the OTF program at the same percentages as 2023 provided that the administrative, advertising, trophies and promotions/research expenses do not increase from 2023 as well as the fund receiving the same percentage of the casino tax revenues that it has in 2023 and previous years. Motion passed.
Benevolence. Policies and Organization
OTBO executive director Mike Annechino discussed the results of the Ohio sale held the previous month at Mahoning Valley and answered questions from the board as well as reiterating a funding request.
Following discussion Director Sikora moved and Director Carrera seconded a motion to not provide the OTBO funding at the present time due to various concerns expressed to the board by numerous former board members of the OTBO. Motion passed with Director Rone abstaining.
Discussion was held regarding the Racehorse Health and Safety Act which was introduced by Representative Clay Higgins in September and would repeal HISA if it were passed.
The executive director updated the board on the search for a new auditing firm for the Ohio HBPA stating that he was working on final language to sign an engagement letter with George Johnson and Company CPA’s to perform the audit.
Budget and Finance
President Poole moved and Director Jarvis seconded a motion to enter executive session to discuss the 2024 Ohio HBPA budget which had been presented to the board as a five- page handout by the executive director. Motion passed.
Discussion was held regarding various categories of the budget.
Director Doering moved and President Poole seconded a motion to end the executive session. Motion passed.
Director Doering moved and Director Rone seconded a motion to approve the 2024 Ohio HBPA proposed budget with amendments to the following categories; Corporate office maintenance, insurance and the summer HBPA convention leaving an amended net income of $7,141. Motion passed.
Discussion was held regarding a newly formed National HBPA Federal PAC. Director Poe moved and Director Doering seconded a motion that the Ohio HBPA make a $5,000 contribution from the Industry Initiative Fund to the National HBPA PAC. Motion passed with Director Jarvis voting no.
Discussion was held regarding a private farm which agreed to take horses who potentially had been exposed to Strangles near the conclusion of the Thistledown meet to prevent any barns from being quarantined at the track. HIWU vets are now requiring horses from that farm to have a negative PCR for Strangles before being allowed to enter the grounds at Mahoning Valley Race Course. Director Doering moved and Director Poe seconded a motion that the Ohio HBPA will cover the costs of PCR testing for the horses seeking to leave the private farm and enter Mahoning Valley Race Course. Motion passed with Director Tumblin abstaining.
Discussion was held regarding a handout provided by the executive director from the Jockeys’ Guild proposing a minimum losing mount fee increase to $100. The board authorized the executive director to inquire from the Jockeys’ Guild how much of the $4.4 million dollar 2024 Ohio HISA assessment their members or the Guild would be willing to contribute since the law requires all covered persons to participate in the costs prior to discussing the mount fee proposal.
The date for the next OHBPA board meeting was set for Friday , January 12th, 2024 beginning at 11:00am at the main OHBPA office.
President Poole moved and Director Carrera seconded a motion to adjourn. Motion passed.