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October 2009 Minutes

Virginia Racing Commission


October 21, 2009


In Attendance
Commission Members:
Peter C. Burnett, Chairman
Clinton Miller, Vice Chairman
Mark Brown
David C. Reynolds

Commission Staff:
Victor I. Harrison, Executive Secretary
David S. Lermond, Jr., Deputy Executive Secretary
Kimberly M. Carter, Office Administrator
C. Richard Harden, DVM, Commission Veterinarian
Joseph M. Roney, Director of Security & Enforcement
Dennis E. West, Director of Operations
Jean Chalk, Standardbred Steward

Attorney General’s Office:
Amy K. Dilworth

At 9:36 a.m., the monthly meeting of the Commission was called to order by Chairman Burnett.

The minutes of the September 16, 2009 meeting were approved unanimously.

Chairman Burnett informed everyone that the Commission will consist of four (4) members until the Governor appoints someone to take Mr. Ferguson’s place that Mr. Ferguson had resigned shortly after the last meeting.

Commissioner Brown, based on the recommendation of the Breeders Fund Standardbred Subcommittee, made a motion for Commission approval of the following expenditures for the Standardbred portion of the Breeders Fund for the calendar year 2009:
• $50,000 – VHHA for the administration of the standardbred portion of the Breeders Fund.
• $150,000 – partially fund the VA-bred stakes races to be held at Colonial Downs November 7.
• Approximately $14,000 – per year in breeder’s awards, which is consistent with last year’s total for these awards.

Chairman Burnett amended the motion that it be included as an agenda item. The amendment was been moved and seconded and Commissioner Brown’s motion, the $214,000 expenditure from the Virginia Harness Horsemen Association Breeders Fund, was carried unanimously. Chairman Burnett also commented on the low number of VA foals and directed the thoroughbred Breeders’ to consider ‘the number of foals that are nurtured in VA.”

Acting on the recommendation of Mr. Lermond, the Commission approved unanimously the amendments to the licensing fee rule in Chapter 60 moving on to the proposed stage and including one minor change - that include grooms and hot walkers be added to the group that pays $25 instead of $50. The motion was made by Commissioner Reynolds and seconded by Chairman Burnett.

Joe Roney spoke to the security changes that were made to the paddock area to tighten up controls on race day.

Ian Stewart, President of Colonial Downs gave a brief update on the Harness meet. Attendance is up, handle, betting at the track on the live product is down about 11 percent, and signal sales are down about 30%, reflecting, among other factors, the overall economic situation.

Jean Chalk responded to an inquiry from Chairman Burnett about the procedure for Lasix administration for next fall’s harness meet.

Ian Stewart commented on the membership benefits of the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative and the shrinking betting handle and issues with TrackNet, exporters vs. importers and ADW providers. Chairman Burnett commented on the issue of the aging of our fan base.

Mr. Harrison suggested that he and Chairman Burnett compose a letter to go out to industry leaders and steering groups suggesting a call for action on the re-parsing of the 20% pari-mutuel take-out.

Commissioner Reynolds drew our attention to the dramatic decline in national pari-mutuel wagering and suggested that drastic action be contemplated. He looks forward to discussing this further and ‘looking at potential solutions on a large scale.’

Chairman Burnett finished with some comments on the cost of regulation.

“There being no further business,” Tuesday, November 17th was set as the date of the next meeting to be held at the Horsemen’s Building, Colonial Downs, 10700 Horsemen’s Road, New Kent, VA. It was moved, seconded, and carried to adjourn this October, 2009 monthly meeting of the Commission.



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