MHHA Board of Directors Meeting
May 18, 2016
Northville Downs Raceway, Northville, Michigan
Regular Session Minutes
Present: E. Engle, T. Barrett, C. Serra, C. Cary-Davidson, K. Goodwin, K. Crawford, G. West, J. Earls.
Absent: W. Beagle, M. Sweeney, D. Hartsook, D. Bolenbaugh.
Associates: L. Julian, V. Vail-Shirey
Six guests were present: Clark Woolpert, DVM, Marilyn Breuer-Bertera, Bill Gira, Emmitt Allen, Eugene Ross and John Moody.
1. Call To Order & Moment of Silence
President Barrett called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m.
A moment of silence was observed in memory of Jeri Spindler, Outrider at Northville Downs, Mike Sova and Steve Latimer.
2. Approval of Agenda
A motion was made by Cary-Davidson and supported by Serra to approve the May Meeting Agenda. Motion unanimously passed.
3. Approval of April Regular Minutes
A motion made by Engle and supported by Beagle to approve the minutes of the April 16, 2016 board meeting was passed electronically on April 25, 2016 by a majority vote of the directors.
4. President’s Report
President Barrett reported on the following issues:
a. Northville Downs 2016 Race Meet.
The 2016 Northville Downs Race Meet was successful launched and continues to be well received by the betting public. Changes were initially made to the race conditions that caused some difficulty for horsemen; however, Northville Down’s race secretary met with horsemen and was responsive to their concerns. A committee of horsemen has been established to regularly meet with the race secretary and offer input.
b. Starter fees at Northville Downs.
The Northville Downs live handle has been good. A study of starter fees has been undertaken to determine whether they may be lowered and when it may make financial sense to do it. The Hazel Park Thoroughbred Race Meet will open soon; however, Northville Downs does not believe that their meet will dramatically impact the Standardbred live handle.
c. Website Transition
We are working diligently to get our new website operational. (See more details in the Association Management Report below.)
d. Horse Racing Legislation
Development of the new horse racing legislation is moving very fast in Lansing. Our legislative team is addressing all the issues as they develop. (See more details in the Legislative Report below.)
5. Treasurer’s Reports
Treasurer Serra presented the following financial information for board review:
We have tight control over our finances. Cash flow continues to be positive; and all our accounts have adequate balances to manage expenses. A motion was made by Crawford and supported by Earls to approve the May Financial Report. Motion unanimously passed.
6. Association Management Report
Association Manager Vail-Shirey made the following report.
The Julian-Vail staff has been actively working on preparations for the Summer Colt Stakes Program colt. Their goal is to assure that the summer fair and futurity racing will run smoothly. A new system has been developed that will provide horseman with the ability to make race entries on-line. Everything will be ready when racing begins.
7. MHHA Member Comments
There were no membership comments or questions.
8. Old Business
Vail-Shirey reported regarding the MHHA’s new website development
A sample of the new website page was distributed. The new website will soon be fully operational. The goal is to be up and running before July 1st and possibly within the next 30 days. The cost of setting up and maintaining the new website has been below the limit that was established by the board in March. Contracting with the new webmaster represents a substantial savings. The new website will be tied into both Twitter and Facebook.
9. New Business
Claudia Cary-Davidson reporting on the 2016 MHHA Scholarship Program.
Goodwin and Crawford were asked to leave the meeting during the scholarship award discussion and to abstain from voting. They complied.
The 2016 MHHA Scholarship applications were presented for board review by Scholarship Committee. One condition for receiving a scholarship is that the applicant or their family must have been an active or life MHHA member for the last three years. Cary-Davidson’s recommendation to distribute $3,000 in scholarships in 2016 was approved by full consensus of the board.
A motion to award MHHA scholarships to the following applicants was made by Cary-Davidson and supported by Serra. The motion unanimously passed.
The 2016 recipients and their scholarships are:
Leslie Shull: $1,500 Scholarship
Brianna Kreil: $750 Scholarship
Sarah Goodwin: $750 Scholarship
After the voting was completed, Goodwin and Crawford rejoined the meeting.
10. Legislative Report
Julian reported the following regarding the proposed new horse racing legislation:
Senate Bill (SB) 504 is the proposed 2016 racing legislation that will move forward through Michigan’s legislature. The MHHA has offered language changes that will better benefit our Standardbred horsemen. We are making progress and are optimistic about communicating the MHHA’s concerns. The MGCB recognized in their testimony that the escrowed funds belong to the Standardbreds. The ADW element was stripped out of the SB 504, but will be managed by the MGCB with the support of our horsemen. SB 504 with changes will be voted out of the House Ag Committee; and will then be sent back to the Senate for approval of the changes or, if necessary, compromise language will be developed. The entire MHHA board as well as our membership has been helped in Lansing to present the Standardbred point-of-view to legislators. Northville Downs has been totally supportive of our efforts. Email communications regarding the progress of the legislation are being sent by Julian-Vail to the board and to our membership on a weekly basis.
11. Board of Director Comments
There were no director comments.
12. Next Board Meeting
The next Board Meeting will be on June 22, 2016 at Noon at the offices of Julian-Vail.
We will suspend director meetings in July and August.
A motion to adjourn was made by Crawford and supported by Engle. Motion unanimously passed. The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 p.m.
Ed Engle, Jr., MHHA Secretary