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Montana Board of Horse Racing unapproved May 2004 minutes

July 12, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

Montana Board of Horse Racing Meeting
May 15, 2004
9:00 a.m.
Unapproved Minutes

Sue Austin, Chair
Tim Donnelly, Vice Chair
Barbara Cole, Board Member
Al Carruthers, Board Member
Brenda Koch, Board Member
Jay Clark, Board Member
TJ Graveley, Board Member
Sam Murfitt, Executive Secretary
Carol Grell Morris, Legal Counsel

Public in Attendance: Ben Carlson

The Executive Secretary informed the Board that the proposed rules regarding starters, assistant starters, and valets were used in Miles City for the first weekend of racing. The system worked really well, even with an inexperienced gate crew.

The end of the comment period will be May 20. If any written comments are received, the Board will have to address those comments; otherwise the new rules as proposed will be adopted on the next possible filing date.

A future rule consideration could be to allow tips to valets of $3, although that figure may be too high when added to other compensations.

The Executive Secretary handed out a summary of the current status of the SB 65 funds. The simulcast is down 37 percent from the 2003 winter season. Reasons for that include some site closures. The winter SB65 total through May 2 is $267,796.32. There is a need for promotion of simulcast.

From 2000 through 2003, the tracks have received 1.5 million dollars of SB65 money for purse payments, operations, new equipment, jockey incentive bonuses and breeder’s bonuses, among others. If the SB65 program had not been set up, this money would have gone to breeder’s bonuses only, benefiting only a few instead of so many people and areas of the industry. There would be no live racing in Montana without the SB65 money. In addition, it has allowed a few improvements such as the digital licensing procedure and the digital photo finish that has been utilized for this year.

The new digital licensing system is working in Miles City and will be used at all the tracks.

Executive Secretary Murfitt updated the Board on the status of the Executive Planning Process for the next biennium. The proposed budget was approved by the Department of Livestock. Money was moved from personal services to operations and the Board will be able to carry out the previous decisions regarding various expenditures. The next step is the actual legislative process and approval in 2005.

The Executive Secretary then gave a practical demonstration to the members of how to calculate the SB65 purse money for Miles City. This emphasized the need to keep the carry-over system held by the Board.

The Board was reminded of the statutory prohibition against betting by Board members.

Next the Board was updated on the fantasy sports pari-mutuel betting system. The Board will not be working further on the bill draft. Gambling Control and Miles City supporters will seek an opinion from the U.S. Attorney on the legality of the activity in light of the Federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

In regards to the telephone account-wagering bill, the Board sent information on a possible bill for the 2005 legislation to MSP and a few others. There has been no response regarding the status of the bill draft, sponsor, and etc.

In accordance with Section 2-3-103, MCA, the meeting was opened for public comment at this time. Chairman Austin read the open forum statement and the public was informed that they could have a short time for comment but that no action could be taken on any issue at this time.

Ben Carlson from Yellowstone Downs informed the Board that Yellowstone Downs would operate under Midlands Horse Racing Association in 2005. The advantage to this is that it will be set up as a non-profit organization. There will be no changes for 2004.

There was also discussion as to whether Montana could move to a 24-hour entry rather than the current 72-hour entry. This would involve a rule change.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.