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2006 Minutes

Virginia Racing Commission

November 15, 2006

In Attendance Commission Members
Mark T. Brown, Chairman
Peter C. Burnett, Vice Chairman
David C. Reynolds
I. Clinton Miller
William H. (Trip) Ferguson

Commission Staff:
Stanley K. Bowker, Executive Secretary
Kimberly M. Carter, Office Administrator
David Lermond, Jr., Director of Pari-mutuels
Joseph M. Roney, Director of Operations & Enforcement
Marvin A. Sniegon, Director of Financial Management & Planning
Dr. C. Richard Hardin, Commission Veterinarian

Attorney General’s Office:
Teresa C. Griggs
Amy K. Dilworth


Prior to the regular monthly meeting, an appeal hearing in The Matter of Dr. William Heffner resumed after being continued from the September 20, 2006 meeting.  After a summary by both parties in the matter, the Commission voted 4-1 (Brown, Ferguson, Miller and Reynolds, aye; Burnett, nay), to fine Dr. Heffner $500.


At 11:00 a.m., Chairman Brown called the regular monthly meeting of the Commission to order.  He acknowledged the pending retirement of the Commission’s Counsel Teresa Griggs who introduced her replacement Assistant Attorney General Amy K. Dilworth.

The minutes of the October 18, 2006 meeting were approved.

Chairman Brown then congratulated Colonial Downs for a successful closing day of the harness meet that featured a Virginia Day of racing and the Breeders’ Cup.

Commissioner Reynolds, Chairman of the Budget Committee, provided an overview of the Commission’s budget for the balance of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007.  He said revenues from pari-mutuels are forecast to increase by $200,000.  Increases in expenses include $155,000 for drug testing on the horses. After transferring the required $815,870 to the General Fund, it is anticipated that approximately $250,000 will be available to add to the marketing fund.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously passed to approve the budget. 

Vice Chairman Burnett reported that an all-day mediation session involving YouBet, Colonial Downs, the Virginia HBPA and VHHA was held on Tuesday, November 14.  He said that while no agreement was reached on source market fess, all parties were working in good faith and are not willing to give up.  Discussions could resume after Thanksgiving.

Acting on the recommendation from Mr. Bowker, the Commission approved Colonial Downs’ December simulcasting schedule.

Mr. Bowker also reported that the Auditor of Public Accounts had completed its annual audit of the Commission and found no financial deficiencies.  However two operational issues were noted.  Mr. Bowker indicated that one had already been corrected and Commerce and Trade is working to help solve issues involving our technological support.

Iain Woolnough, Vice President and General Manager of Colonial Downs reported on the conclusion of the 2006 live harness meet.  He said as expected the live attendance and pari-mutuel handle on track was down from 2005 but the out-of-state signal sales were up.  He added that with the help of the Breeders’ Cup, the track experienced its largest pari-mutuel handle day since the 1998 spring meet.

Mr. Woolnough requested that the Commission amend its rules to require the use of safety vests by drivers and to review its medication procedures before next year.

Colonial Downs President Ian Stewart requested permission to expand the use of contract security at the satellite wagering facilities.  The Commission had previously approved two locations.

Mr. Bowker reported staff makes monthly visits to all of the facilities and believes contract security at the two locations has worked very well.  He said staff would continue to observe the security issues but recommended that the Commission authorize Colonial Downs to use contract security wherever appropriate as long as discussions with local officials are conducted first.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously passed to approve the request.
He added that the harness meet’s premier race, the $100,000 Patriot’s Stakes, was run on October 13 and was won by Vivid Photo in a world record-equaling time for one mile.

Following a retirement luncheon for Ms. Griggs, Colonial Downs presented its request for 2007 live Thoroughbred racing days.

Mr. Stewart said the request is for 42 days beginning Thursday, June 14 and continuing through Tuesday, August 7.  Except for opening week and July 4 week, which involve six-day weeks, all other weeks will run Friday through Tuesday, five days per week.

Frank Petramalo, Executive Director of the Virginia HBPA, reported that while the horsemen agree with Colonial Downs on the number of racing days, there is no agreement on the purse distribution.  The disagreement on purses involves the amount of daily overnight purses, the amount of money going into the Virginia Derby and the Colonial Cup and the funding of the gap between when purses are earned and when they have to be paid out.

After considerable discussion a motion was made, seconded and unanimously passed to approve the 42 days as proposed.  The parties were asked to get back together and work out the purse issues and report back at the December meeting.

Commissioner Reynolds, Chairman of the Virginia Horse Racing Task Force, reported that CRT/tanaka had provided the results of its market research to his committee and will provide an update to the Commission.  President Mike Mulvihill and Senior Account Executive Julie McCracken reviewed the findings and reported they would be taking the research and preparing a plan, timeline and budget for 2007 which they would bring back to the Commission for approval at the December meeting.

The Commission set the next meeting for December 20, 2006.

There being no further business, the monthly meeting of the Commission was adjourned.




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