May 28th Racing Commission Meeting Minutes

Virginia Racing Commission


Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Patrick Henry Building East Reading Room 1111 East Broad Street Richmond, VA 23219

Commission Members In Attendance:

  • J. Sargeant Reynolds, Jr., Chairman
  • D.G. Van Clief, Jr., Vice Chairman
  • Carol G. Dawson I. Clinton Miller Charles Steger, PhD

Commission Staff: Bernard J. Hettel, Executive Secretary Rich Harden, Equine Medical Director David S. Lermond, Deputy Executive Secretary/Fiscal Officer Kimberly C. Mackey, Office Administrator Courtney C. Reid, Program Support Technician Office of Agriculture and Forestry Sam Towell, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Attorney General’s Office: Joshua Laws, Esq.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Reynolds at 9:59 AM; all Commission members were present. Chairman Reynolds explained to the group the necessity of this working session to be prepared for the July 1st VRC meeting. The first item for discussion on the agenda was the designation of a majority Horsemens group for both Standardbred and Thoroughbred groups. Several people added input into what they believe the definition of a horseman should entail. Vice Chairman Van Clief suggested a horsemen be a current license holder and also have had started a horse or maintained 1 or more horses in training in Virginia within the last thirty six months and going forward it would be 12 months.

Josh Laws, Assistant Attorney General, reminded the group that as of July 1st , in the Code of Virginia §59.1-365 , the ‘recognized majority horsemen group’, is “the organization recognized by the Commission as the representative of the majority of owners and trainers racing at race meetings subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction.” Mr. Laws informed the group of a required APA hearing must be held for recognizing both the Horsemens groups. After discussion, it was decided that this could be done before the meeting on July 1st . Commissioner Miller suggested the criteria needed for recognition should be put in the notice for the meeting and a deadline for submission should be made in order for review.

At 11:27 Chairman Reynolds suggested a quick break; the group reconvened at 11:47.

The next agenda item discussed included criteria for recognizing an industry nonprofit stakeholder. Jeb Hannum, Executive Director of the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA), echoed the importance of recognizing this group on July 1st due to the necessity to distribute the source market fee paid by ADW companies. Mr. Laws added that an APA hearing is required for recognition of the industry nonprofit stakeholder and the VEA will need to provide supplemental documentation prior to the hearing, in addition to being able to show intentions to promote, sustain and advance horse racing in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The next agenda item was a review of standing and potential VRC committees, which include a facilities committee, legislative review committee, and stakeholder committee. Chairman Reynolds suggested he and Vice Chairman Van Clief review the participation in the current committees at a separate time and then make changes. Administrative regulations needing to be amended will be submitted to Josh Laws for review and will be an agenda item at a future VRC meeting for approval. Discussion of an economic study occurred, it was suggested that this topic return to discussion in the Fall when more funding is available.

Lastly, during the public comment period, Nick Hahn advised the group of the importance of jobs the horse industry and the economic impact it has in the Commonwealth. Also, Tad Burman suggested if the OTBs open in the future, they need to make more incentives for bettors to come to the OTBs and participate.

The working session was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.