The Board of Directors of the VTA and the VHBPA held the first of several meetings to discuss strengthening the program for Virginia-breds at the VTA office last Friday. Some additional suggestions for open races were also discussed.
Obviously, attendance was hindered by three-feet of snow, but an enthusiastic group did assemble in person and over the phone.
Attending in person were Jim Morris, Frank Petramalo, Wayne Chatfield-Taylor, Diana McClure, Pug and Susie Hart, Susan Cooney, Glenn Petty and Virginia Racing Commission Chairman Peter Burnett. Attending by phone were Jill Gordon-Moore, Robin Richards, Donna Dennehy, Donna Rodgers, Bob Bouse, Ernie Oare, Leanne Hester, Brooke Royster and Colonial Downs Racing Secretary Tyler Picklesimer.
It had been previously agreed by contract that two Virginia-bred races per week would be placed in the main body of the condition book and that every effort would be made to fill and run those races. The group meeting on Friday was seeking other ways to increase racing opportunities and the earning potential for Virginia-breds during the 2010 live Colonial Downs race meet.
While negotiations between all the parties continue, here are some of the concepts discussed.
1. Make the Virginia-bred race the first race of the day as they do in other states and designate it with VBF symbol/logo. Write one daily.
2. Designate one entry clerk or other racing official as the “Virginia-bred coordinator” whose focus would be finding Va-bred horses and hustling Va-bred races. (Colonial Downs and the VHBPA are currently discussing this with an MJC official who is familiar with the location and connections of many Va-breds in the Mid-Atlantic and elsewhere.)
3. Create additional incentives to enter Va-breds in restricted races such as higher-than-scale purses, owners’ bonuses and/or additional shipping money.
4. Changing the purse distribution, lowering winner’s share to 50% (it is currently 58%).
5. Write more races at 1 1/16, 1 1/8, 1 ¼ and longer – both restricted and open.
6. Write optional surfaces and distances.
7. Bring back races the next day if they don’t fill.
8. Don’t write competing open races in front of the restricted race.
VTA/VIRGINIA BREEDERS FUND
1. Inventory the 1,003 existing three-, four- and five-year-old registered Virginia-breds.
2. Sort data for 2009 Virginia-bred starters by location, race conditions, age, etc.
3. Track current Va-bred runners via custom computer program or Virtual Stable.
4. Survey current VTA and VHBPA members regarding number of horses they might race at CLN and what conditions those horses may have (similar to what the National Steeplechase Assoc. does.)
5. Explore options for extending 100% Owners Bonus beyond first.
6. Explore awarding percentage of 100% Owners Bonus back to the breeder (similar to Delaware certified program).
In the near future there will be another similar meeting to discuss other components of the Virginia Breeders Fund. Among other items to be discussed will be a Virginia-certified program and extending the 100% bonus beyond first as mentioned above.
All of these ideas are merely concepts at this point – none have been set in stone. If you have further ideas, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.