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2005 Minutes

Virginia Racing Commission

MINUTES OF COMMISSION MEETING
SEPTEMBER 7, 2005
STATE CORPORATION COMMISSION
TYLER BUILDING COURTROOM B
1300 EAST MAIN STREET
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

In Attendance Commission Members:
Anne D. W. Poulson, Chairman
Peter C. Burnett, Vice Chairman
Mark T. Brown David C. Reynolds Dr. George W. Rimler

Commission Staff:
Stanley K. Bowker, Executive Secretary
Kimberly M. Carter, Office Administrator
David S. Lermond, Jr., Director of Pari-Mutuels
Joseph M. Roney, Director of Operations and Enforcement
Marvin A. Sniegon, Director of Financial Management and Planning

Attorney General’s Office:
Teresa Griggs

__________________________

At 9:36 a.m., Chairman Poulson called the meeting to order.

The minutes of the July 15, 2005 meeting were approved.

In her Chairman’s Report, Chairman Poulson congratulated Colonial Downs on a successful Thoroughbred meet and the opening of the Martinsville satellite wagering facility. She said she has heard many good comments about the live meet including the inaugural Grand Slam of Grass and Turf Festival, the longer meet and the positive experience of horsemen coming to Colonial Downs.

Chairman Poulson also reported she had attended the Jockey Club Roundtable held at Saratoga. There was considerable focus on integrity issues including wagering security, medication, the Office of Wagering Integrity and other national initiatives.

Commissioner Brown reported that the Standardbred Blue Ribbon Committee had a very positive meeting in August and a draft of a final report is being prepared.

Reporting for the Standardbred Breeders Fund Committee, Commissioner Brown asked approval of the following:

1. $240,000 for eight Virginia-bred or owned stakes at $30,000 per race for two and three year olds, both trotters and pacers.
2. Two stakes races at $20,000 per race for four-year-olds and up to be funded from the purse account.
3. Approximately $15,000 to be set aside for breeders and stallions awards.
4. Allow the harness horsemen to expend $150,000 on marketing out of the purse account.
The request was moved, seconded and unanimously approved.

Acting on the recommendations of Mr. Bowker, the Commission ratified Mr. Bowker’s approval of Colonial Downs’ September simulcast schedule and approved the requested October simulcasting schedule and the outlets for sale of live signal for the 2005 harness meet.

The Commission approved the appointment of Jean Chalk, George Hickman and Philip Wentworth as Stewards for the Standardbred race meeting for all matters relating to Standardbred racing and activities at the satellite wagering facilities and that Stanley Bowker is designated as Alternate Steward.

Acting on the recommendation of Mr. Bowker, the Commission approved the Colonial Downs Racing Officials and the wagering pools as submitted by Mr. Mooney for the Harness meet.

During the discussion of submitting the request for 2006 live racing dates, Mr. Bowker recommended that the Commission set November 1, 2005 as the deadline. After considerable discussion, the Commission approved a December 1, 2005 absolute deadline with the understanding that all parties be prepared for the Commission to approve the dates at its December meeting.

Mr. Bowker provided an overview of the 2005 live thoroughbred meet. He said despite the major changes in the medication rules, there were very few problems and only one positive involving two NSAIDs. He said purses totaled $8.6 million or $216,741 per day, the highest in the history of Colonial Downs. He said field sizes were 8.7 horses per races, almost identical to 2004.

He said while the attendance and mutuel handle results were mixed mostly because six races were canceled on two different days, totals in both categories were records. He added that Virginia breds fared very well, winning 34 open races, winning $470,080 in purse money plus $290,080 in purse supplements.

Mr. Bowker said he attended the fall Board of Directors meeting of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Among the issues approved were a contract for RCI to management the day-to-day operation of the National Racing Compact that have moved to the RCI offices from Virginia, that RCI formally adopt a privacy policy for information contained in its data base and the 2006 annual meeting to be held in New Mexico, March 28-31.

President Ed Martin reported on discussions he has had with NAPRA Executive Director Paul Bowlinger about NAPRA members reaffiliating with RCI. The Board approved a resolution of support and asked Chairman Ted Connors to represent RCI at the NAPRA meeting in Jackson Hole, WY later this month.

In the matter of adoption of regulations 11 VAC 10-20-240 (Transfer or acquisition of interest in owner’s, owner-operator’s or operator’s license), it was moved, seconded and approved to adopt the regulations as final. The Stewards Regulations were approved as exempt regulations for the 2005 harness meet.

James Weinberg, counsel for Colonial Downs, reported that the stable area is open for the harness meet with 650 stall commitments. Qualifiers are scheduled Saturday, September 10.

Mr. Weinberg said that the new Martinsville satellite facility is open, that the attendance had started off good and Colonial Downs is working to build up wagering. He added the new Chesapeake facility is in schedule for an early October opening and that the issues with VDOT over road improvements had been worked out and work will be underway soon in Scott County with a late December or early January opening.

Mr. Weinberg stated that the expected mediation with AmericaTab scheduled for September 14 has been postponed at the request of Jeffrey Jacobs, Colonial Downs owner, and Charles Ruma, President of AmericaTab, as the two parties are working on an agreement. He added Colonial Downs and YouBet still have not agreed on a mediator.

Mr. Weinberg reviewed the Jacobs family Trust Agreements involving the indirect Ownership in Colonial Downs that had been under consideration for the past 12 months. The agreements involve other entities owed by the Jacobs family and attorneys in several states have been involved in finalizing the details. Commission Counsel Teresa Griggs and Special Counsel Randolph Beales have represented the Commission in the legal reviews. The proposed agreement was moved, seconded and unanimously approved.

The proposed stock purchase of the Management and Consulting Agreement by Colonial Downs from the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit was presented for Commission approval.

Mr. Weinberg stated the benefits of the purchase by Colonial Downs included:

1. It will streamline the structure of Colonial’s management structure and provide clearer accountability.
2. It will eliminate potential conflicts caused by dual management.
3. It will provide an opportunity to reevaluate the management structure that has been in place since 1995.
4. There will be financial benefits to Colonial Downs.

A number of issues were raised by Commissioners including only a six-week window of guaranteed no overlapping of live racing days between Virginia and Maryland when Virginia is planning 42 days of racing in 2006 and 50 days in 2007, the management structure, how will the sale benefit racing in Virginia and the extent the request is a variance in the Final Order granting the original licenses held by Colonial Downs.

After considerable discussion, it was moved second and approved on a 4-1 vote (Commissioner Reynolds dissenting) that Chairman Poulson and Mr. Bowker seek out an expert in racetrack management to review the proposed sale to, among other things, determine the effect on racing in Virginia with overlapping racing dates, look at the proposed management structure and the positives and negatives of the proposed sale. It was also approved that the Commission schedule a meeting on September 28, 2005 at 9:30 a.m. at the State Corporation Commission, Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, Richmond for further discussion on the proposed sale.

There being no further business before the Commission, the meeting adjourned at 1:26 p.m.

 

 

 

 

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