The Racing Journal Logo

Idaho HBPA president releases statement

February 18, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

On the heels of the February 16 Idaho State Racing Commission meeting, the Idaho HBPA has published its newsletter containing a statement from president Mark Buckley. Buckley asked us to publish the statement so that it reaches a greater audience than just Idaho horsemen.

Hello, horsemen,

The last month has been very eventful and, after two years of tough times, it appears that it may be time for some good news. The headlines are: Idaho Entertainment has vacated the lease at Les Bois Park, the county commissioners are actively looking for a new operator to lease the track, there are potential operators interested in taking the track over, and the horsemen as a whole seem to be aligning and working together to return horseracing to Boise. This is a lot of good news that seems likely to add up to live racing at Les Bois Park this year.

The Lease

As of two weeks ago, we were informed that Idaho Entertainment had reached an agreement with the county and is no longer the lease holder of the Boise track. As of last week, we were further informed that the county had published the ďRequest For Proposals,Ē basically asking any interested parties to bid on the lease. Through a variety of sources, we believe that there are at least two groups interested in the lease, although we donít know a lot of the details, and wonít really know who is interested and who isnít until formal proposals are submitted. Proposals are due to the County Commissioners by 4:00 p.m. on March 7. We are optimistic that this process will move quickly, and it wonít be long before we have a new operator at Les Bois Park.

Aligning the Horsemen

As many of you know, there have been a lot of arguments between a number of the horsemen's groups, and even a lawsuit. Iím happy to say that issues have been worked out, lawsuits have been dropped, and that the various horsemenís groups now have a plan for moving forward together. Much of the alignment was achieved by agreeing on how we wanted the various horsemenís groups to be involved in future efforts, and then cementing these processes and alignments into the Bylaws of the IHBPA to assure that they would be followed in the future.

The changes were meant to drive the following:

  • Better inclusion of all horsemenís groups, with close ties to racing at Les Bois Park, in the decision making processes of the IHBPA.

  • Open eligibility for the IHBPA board to all members that donít have a financial tie to the operator.

  • Better transparency and information flow from the IHBPA to all horsemen racing at Les Bois Park.

With inputs from ITA, IQHRD, and the IHA, the following changes were made to the IHBPA Bylaws:

  • The Idaho Quarter Horse Racing Division (IQHRD) and the Idaho Thoroughbred Association (ITA) shall each nominate not less than two of their board members to serve on the IHBPA board. These nominees shall appear on the ballet for voting by the general membership, along with nominees from the general membership to fill the other 6 board member positions.

  • It is no longer considered to be a conflict of interest to be on the board of another horsemenís organization or the spouse of a board member of another horsemenís organization. Board members need simply have started a horse in the previous year of racing at Les Bois Park to be eligible. Financial interests in the operator of the track will be the only conflict of interest going forward.

  • All IHBPA Board meetings will now be open meetings, subject to limitations of space.

  • All future changes to the IHBPA Bylaws will be by vote of the general membership.

These changes guarantee that the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred organizations will be included in future decisions of the IHBPA. This will also assure good communication between the organizations, as well as with our members. These changes take effect immediately. Since this is an election year, we will use these new rules to govern the election of a new Board over the next few months.

With these changes in place, the various horsemenís groups are aligned and ready to show a united face to any prospective operator. This should make Les Bois Park more attractive to operators, allow us to reach a contract agreement quickly, and move forward to re-open the facility.

We are expecting a lot more good news over the next month or so and will do our best to keep you all informed as information is available. Start including Les Bois Park in you plans for the coming year, and weíll fill you in on additional news as we get it. Thanks to everyone for your support over a long difficult time. We are looking forward to a much better year in 2011.

Mark Buckley