THE DAILY RACING FORM: For the record, I visited Colonial Downs on Saturday and was able to buy a Racing Form…which was nice. I don’t know what that means in the grand scheme of things, but I was happy to see it and to pay $7 for it…All in all, we had a great day, and everybody we dealt with on the front side expressed regret over the meeting coming to an end.

THE VTA BOARD: Yesterday, the VTA Board of Directors approved the slate which was presented by the member-elected Nominating Committee for the new board.

The process works like this – like other equine organizations in the state such as the Virginia Horse Show Association, the VTA members vote on who will serve on the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee then asks for volunteers to serve or the names of people who would be well suited to serve.

We went to the elected Nominating Committee format one election ago for the simple reason that we could not get any new people elected to the board. The way it was designed previously, the incumbents were re-elected every election and the only way a new board member found his/her way to Warrenton was when someone retired or died.

That didn’t make much sense, so we changed it up.

Recently, the members elected the Nominating Committee. After a subscribed period of time where the members were encouraged to contact Nominating Committeee members, the committee then met and decided how to proceed. Their two options were to create a slate with more candidates than seats which would then require the members to vote again, or they could create a slate for a exact number of seats they wanted to fill which removes the need to eliminate qualified candidates via another vote. The committee chose the latter approach naming 21 people for 21 seats on the board.

The Nominating Committee consisted of three current VTA board members and three current non-board members. The Nominating Committee that was elected by the entire VTA membership was Debbie Easter (chairman, after receiving the most votes), Anne Poulson, Wayne Chatfield-Taylor from the board, and Nellie Mae Cox, Mark Deane and Reynolds Cowles from the membership at large.

The Nominating Committee was faced with a difficult task as many more volunteers and viable candidates were offered than there was room to accommodate.

As far as the VTA staff was concerned, we asked the Nominating Committee to choose potential directors who consistently bred horses and who would be motivated to help us move the industry forward. No staff members attended the Nominating Committee meeting, nor did any of us have any futher input with the committee members on the subject. I was particlularly sensitive to this issue as I did not want anyone to think the staff had “over influenced” the process by lobbying the committee members. Frankly, considering the strong personalities on the committee, I don’t believe they would have listened had we tried!

The Nominating Committee spent a great deal of time sorting this out and eventually settled on a slate of candidates while producing a list of potential committee members they believed would be good future candidates.

The new board of the VTA will look like this:

RETURNING: Bob Bouse, Donna Dennehy, Jill Gordon-Moore, Carol Holden, Joan Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Louisa Lenehan, Jim Morris, Ernie Oare, Jim Peterson and Anne Poulson.

NEW: Bill Backer, Chris Baker, Dr. Tim Casey, Jim Falk, Dr. E.C. “Pug” Hart, Leanne Hester, Brooke Royster, Mignon Smith and Dr. Jens Von Leppel.

Backer operates Smitten Farm and just recently won his second Virginia Oaks, Baker manages Edward P. Evans Spring Hill Farm, Dr. Casey has been breeding and racing in Virginia and West Virginia for many years, Jim Falk is an attorney who owns and breeds, Pug Hart and his wife Susie are commercial breeders at South Gate Farm, Leanne Hester owns, breeds, trains and stands a stallion, Brooke Royster and his wife Lindsley breed at Chance Farm, Mignon C. Smith operates the multi-faceted Mede Cahaba Stable & Stud, LLC and Dr. Von Leppel manages Audley Farm.

While everyone who volunteered to serve wasn’t chosen, we hope they you all be willing to be part of the committee system that we utilize to tackle various projects. Please know we appreciate your dedication and interest in what we are trying to accomplish.