Representative Emily Wicks appointed to commission as Ex-Officio
On June 23, Representative Emily Wicks was appointed as the newest Ex-Officio for the WHRC. Representative Wicks replaces Representative Strom Peterson.
Representative Wicks serves the 38th Legislative District which encompasses Everett and Marysville. She is also the Vice Chair for the House Commerce and Gaming Committee. The WHRC welcomes Representative Wicks to the industry and looks forward to working together to support horse racing.
Emerald Downs approved amended dates for 2021
At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Washington Horse Racing Commission on June 11, 2021 an amended race day request was received from Emerald Racing, LLC was approved. A fifty day race season is still scheduled, but beginning with week of July 8th, live racing will be conducted on a Thursday, Saturday, Sunday schedule. Post times for Thursday will be at 6:00 p.m., Saturdays at 6:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. After Labor Day weekend, racing will conducted on a Saturday and Sunday schedule.
Emerald Downs plans for welcoming fans back to the track
Emerald Downs has developed plans for welcoming ticketed fans to the track for the 2021 live racing season beginning on May 19th. Click here to see the operational plan and guidelines that will be in place to accommodate fans and comply with public health guidelines.
Commission Chair Robert Lopez named Chair of ARCI
Lexington, KY - The Chairman of the Washington State Horse Racing Commission, Robert Lopez, is the new Chair of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Lopez replaces Tom Sage of Nebraska whose term expired.
Lopez will lead the association at a transitional time in North American racing as a new federal law in the United States is implemented creating a new national regulatory entity to partner with existing state commissions.
A graduate of the FBI’s National Academy, Lopez is a longtime law enforcement professional who worked his way up as a member of the Washington State Patrol before retiring as Assistant Chief in 2001.
In 2002, Lopez began a second career in horse racing regulation, joining the staff of the racing commission and again working his way up to become Executive Secretary. In 2015, he was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve as a Member of the Commission and subsequently elevated to serve as Commission Chairman.
For many years Lopez has been a key leader within the ARCI, serving on its Board of Directors and the prestigious Model Rules Committee.
The ARCI held its Annual Meeting online yesterday to elect ten At-Large Directors to augment those designated by the top five horse racing jurisdictions as measured by live race days consistent with the organization’s ByLaws. The five automatic Board Members are: Brent Stone, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario; Rob Williams, New York Gaming Commission; Chairman Scott Borgemenke, Ohio State Racing Commission; Anthony Salerno, Pennsylvania Racing Commission; Louis Trombetta, Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
The following individuals were elected yesterday to the RCI Board:
At its next Board meeting, the ARCI will elect two additional Board Members to serve as Secretary/Chair-elect and Treasurer. Chairman Lopez will also appoint two additional At-Large Members consistent with his authority under the ByLaws.
The ARCI is a “board driven” entity and its President and staff implement and articulate policies and positions that represent the decisions made by the Members. Every regulatory agency member is represented at Board meetings as an “Ex-Officio” Board Member.
UPDAted Emerald Downs stable protocols
Emerald Downs has updated their stable protocols and starting Thursday, April 29, licensed owners will have access to the stable area. As per state protocols no family or guests will be permitted.
Please click here for the updated stable protocols and the requirements for entry into the stable area.
WHRC Owners License Applications and Labor and Industries Premiums
All owners applying for a WHRC license are required to pay a subsidy to the Horsemen's Labor and Industries Account. The amount is based on the percentage of horses owned. The maximum amount to be paid is $150.00. The WHRC calculates the premium at a minimum of 10% ownership and then rounded up in increments of 5% after. Percentage of multiple horses are added together for calculations. For example, if an individual owns 11% of one horse and 12.5% of a second horse for a total of 23.5%, the percentage is rounded up to 25% and the L & I premium would be $37.50. Once an owner has paid $150.00, no additional premium is required. Below is a chart for premiums due:
1% to 10% ownership = $15.00
11% to 15% ownership = $22.50
16% to 20% ownership = $30.00
21% to 25% ownership = $37.50
26% to 30% ownership = $45.00
31% to 35% ownership = $52.50
36% to 40% ownership = $60.00
41% to 45% ownership = $67.50
46% to 50% ownership = $75.00
51% to 55% ownership = $82.50
56% to 60% ownership = $90.00
61% to 65% ownership = $97.50
66% to 70% ownership = $105.00
71% to 75% ownership = $112.50
76% to 80% ownership = $120.00
81% to 85% ownership = $127.50
86% to 90% ownership = $135.00
91% to 95% ownership = $142.50
96% to 100% ownership = $150.00
This premium is addition to the actual license fees of $96.00 plus $10.00 fingerprint fee, ($106.00), for all applicants over the age of 17 and under the age of 70. For those under 18 or over 69 the license fee is $96.00.
If you are unsure of how to calculate the ownership percentages or have any questions please call the WHRC offices at 360-459-6462 in Olympia or 253-931-6372 at Emerald Downs.
2021 WHRC Approved thresholds for therapeutic medication and withdrawal guidelines
The WHRC and the Equine Medical Director have published a listing for 2021 of all approved therapeutic medications thresholds, and withdrawal guidelines. Additionally, information regarding compounded medication, nutraceuticals, and the use of CBD oils are provided by clicking on the links below:
Cannabidiol Bulletin Feb. 2019 - click here
CBD Update - click here
RMTC Nutraceuticals 101 A Trainer's Guide - click here
WHRC Thresholds 2021 - click here
WHRC Withdrawal Time Recommendations 2021 - click here
2020 Owners bonuses and Breeders awards issued
The Owners Bonuses and Breeders Awards have been calculated using the total handle by Washington State residents during the live race meet at Emerald Downs in 2020 and the majority of the checks were mailed on December 9, 2020. The WHRC is still attempting to contact and/or waiting to receive the SWV forms required by the Office of Financial Management prior to them processing some of the checks. If you do not receive your award by December 15th, please call to ensure that it was sent or for instructions on how to submit the form.
With the restrictions placed on the industry, the most significant being prohibited from allowing public attendance at the live races, the amount of bonus money was affected. The owners bonus in the past was mainly generated by the in-state live handle, which was impacted the most. The breeders awards benefited from the majority of the handle moving to the Advance Deposit Wagering platform and showed a slight gain in awards.
The total Owners Bonus is determined by all handle in the State of Washington during the live Emerald Downs race meet which totaled $13,297,132 a decline of 64.74% from 2019. 1% of the handle is withheld for the bonus monies plus 2.5% of the Source Market fees generated from Advance Deposit Wagering, which in 2020 was $174,286.21. A total of $307,257.23 was generated for all owners of Washington Breds which finished first, second, third, or fourth at Emerald Downs. Washington Breds earned $2,216,892.55 during the 2020 race meet. This leads to a 13.8598% bonus to all owners of Washington Breds that qualified for the awards. There are 138 different owners or ownership groups that will receive the bonus checks for the 239 different Washington Bred horses that finished first, second, third, or fourth at Emerald Downs. The top five owners were in order: Chad Christensen, Tim Floyd's Warlock Stables, Rising Star Stables, Jean Harris's Clemens View Farm, and , and Tawnja Elison.
Click here for a breakdown of the payment factor for the Owners Bonuses.
The Breeders Awards are determined by 1% of the handle on all exotic wagers on races conducted at Emerald Downs, (all wagers other than win, place, and show), during the live meet as required in RCW 67.16.175. Additionally, 2.5% of Source Market Fees from Advance Deposit Wagering is designated as well. For 2020 this generated $7,819.98 from the exotic wagers and $174,286.21 from SMF for a total award of $182,106.19. All breeders of Washington Bred horses which finish first, second, or third receive bonus awards. Of the money generated, 75% is given to the horses for purses earned when finishing first, 15% for purses earned for second, and 10% for purses earned for third place. The percentages for the awards is as follows, 10.4299% for first place purses, 6.2991% for second place purses, and 5.7254% for third place purses. A total of 90 breeders will receive bonus checks for 212 different Washington Bred horses that finished first, second or third at Emerald Downs. The top five breeders were: El Dorado Farm (Ron & Nina Hagen), Debbie and Fredrick Pabst's Blue Ribbon Farm, Bar C Racing Stable, Inc., Jones & Jones, LLC, and Tim Floyd's Warlock Stable LLC.
Click here for a breakdown of the payment factors for the Breeders Awards.
Now Accepting Credit & Debit Cards
The Washington Horse Racing Commission is now accepting Visa, Mastercard and Discover credit and debit cards for the payment of WHRC license fees, Labor & Industries Industrial Insurance premiums and other fines/fees collected. A service fee of 3% will be added to all credit or debit transactions.
Rulemaking Notification List
Any person who wishes to receive notification about WHRC rulemaking activities can be added to the stakeholder list. Requests to be added to the stakeholder list may be made by email at email@example.com, by telephone at 360-459-6462, by fax at 360-459-6461, or by mail at 6326 Martin Way, Suite 209, Olympia, WA 98516-5578.
Follow the WHRC Board of Stewards on Twitter
You can now follow the WHRC Board of Stewards on twitter. Get the latest rider changes, scratches, etc. directly from the stewards. Limited explanation of inquires and objections will be posted with a link to the Emerald Downs website for daily stewards report with a more detailed explanation that are up within 72 hours of each race day. Click here to start following at @whrcstewards for all the information.
The WHRC adopted changes to WAC 260-36-100 in 2019 which resulted in changes to the fingerprint requirements for applicants and licensees. Fingerprint based criminal history checks through the FBI are normally required every five years but may be required at any time. Each year every person between the ages of eighteen and sixty-nine must pay a $10 fingerprint processing fee in addition to the license fees. Any applicant or licensee over the age of sixty-nine or under the age of eighteen will not be required to pay the $10 fingerprint fee unless fingerprints are requested by the WHRC and they will be required to pay the entire cost of the submission at time of processing. Additionally, fingerprints may be required in the following circumstances:
2020 WHRC Annual Report
The Washington Horse Racing Commission's 2020 Annual Report to the Governor is available to view by visiting the WHRC Forms and Reports page or clicking here.
Washington State’s Down the Stretch Ranch Garners National Attention
Down The Stretch Ranch co-founded in 2015 by Hall of Fame Trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, his wife Janet, and Boone McCanna in Creston, Washington has gotten national attention recently. The foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit thoroughbred race horse retirement facility which connects injured or retired racehorses with United States Veterans and through the use of equine therapy helps bring comfort and companionship to veterans.
Down The Stretch ranch was recently placed in national spotlight by trainer Doug O’Neill whose support of the foundation was on display during Breeders Cup week when his horses wore coolers featuring Down The Stretch Ranch. The Paulick Report also recently featured an article written by Hank Wesch of Del Mar about Down The Stretch Ranch and the work it is doing with retired thoroughbred racehorses and veterans that can be viewed by clicking here.
For more information on Down The Stretch Ranch and what can be done to support their cause please visit their website http://www.downthestretch.org/ or their Facebook page by clicking here.
Labor and Industries Rates for 2021
The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has published its 2021 industrial insurance rates for the Horse Industry Account. Rates are determined by data from the previous five years, July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020 of exposure and claim experience. Rate have increased slightly after decreasing the previous two years. For Risk Class 6625, (grooms and assistant trainers, monthly), 6626, (Exercise and pony riders at the track, per horse per day), and 6627, (Exercise and pony riders on a farm, per hour).
Good safety procedures in the stable area and ensuring that no fraudulent claims are filed are the best ways to stabilize and continue to reduce premiums in the future.
The following are the industrial insurance rates for 2021:
ARCI discusses regulation against "doping" and medication violations
The Association of Racing Commissioners International, of which the WHRC is a current member, and the University of Florida Racing Laboratory has released a five minute video in which the history of medication and horse racing is discussed. The video discusses current standards and protections in place to detect and deter intentional administrations. The WHRC has adopted virtually all of the recommended threshold levels currently recommended by the ARCI. Click here or scroll down to view the video.
Emerald Downs concludes live racing for 2020 - with zero racing fatalities
The challenging 2020 Emerald Downs race meet came to a conclusion on October 29th. The 2020 racing season faced many obstacles and challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. With an original start date of April 18, the shutdown of all non-essential businesses forced the season to be delayed. Fortunately, due to the agricultural aspect involved in the training and care of the horses, the 300 to 400 horses that were stabled on the grounds were allowed to remain. Emerald Downs instituted strict protocols and the stable area was restricted to only essential personnel. Masks were required and screening was done daily on all those entering the area. On June 24 live racing finally returned, although for the entire season no public attendance was allowed. This would continue for the entire racing season. Owners were allowed to attend live racing on days in which they had horses competing. Racing was conducted on a Wednesday/Thursday schedule with a total of 38 live race days. The Emerald Downs management and the horsemen should be commended and recognized for their efforts. During the entire race season there were no reported cases of COVID-19 in the stable area or grandstand area.
A major statistic for 2020 revealed that over the 38 days of live racing, which included 391 races and 2,905 starters, there were no catastrophic injuries suffered by the equine athletes. This is a tribute to both the trainers and practicing veterinarians diligence in the care and treatment of the horses, along with the Equine Medical Director and other regulatory veterinarians extensive race day inspections and monitoring of all horses scheduled to compete.
On the track, Horse of the meeting went to two year old Dutton, who was three for three at the meet, including the Gottstein Futurity. Dutton was owned by Rising Star Stable, trained by Howard Belvoir, and ridden by Jennifer Whitaker. Alittlelesstalk, owned by Tim Floyd, Kelly Dugan, and Roddina Barrett, who also trained the four year old filly, was named Top Older Filly or Mare. Top Male honors went to Unmachable, owned by Tawnja Elison and trained by Jack McCartney. Other awards were, Top 3 year old filly, Jody Peetz and Steve Shimizu's Daffodil Sweet, conditioned by Chris Stenslie, Omache Kid, Top Claimer, who raced for multiple owners and trainers during the season. Chad Christensen and Josh McKee owned both Top Sprinter Eliott Bay and Top Two year old Filly, Time for Gold, both were conditioned by leading trainer Frank Lucarelli. Leading rider honors went to Alex Cruz. Jockey Juan Gutierrez achieved two milestones during the meet, becoming the all-time leading rider at Emerald Downs surpassing Gallyn Mitchell, while also riding his 2000th winner during the season as well.
The lack of public attendance created significant economic issues, In-State wagering both on track and at the OTB's was down 64.74% from 2019. Advance Deposit Wagering showed significant gains, up 71% during the live season, but the return to the industry is significantly less, thereby creating operating losses for all stakeholders. The entire industry will be looking to rebound and hope for a more "normal" season in 2021.