NTWAB Spring Newsletter

By Tom Law

Posted June 14, 2018

Fellow Turf writers, I hope this note finds you all well and recovering from the excitement and grind of this year’s Triple Crown season. Apologies for the somewhat tardiness of this note; I intended to write shortly after the NTWAB meeting prior to the Kentucky Derby, but time slipped away.

It’s a great honor to again serve the organization as president, a post I held from 2006 to 2011 and a job that I consider very important for our organization and the Thoroughbred industry. When I made the trip to Kentucky this year, I didn’t think I’d return to Saratoga in a leadership role with the NTWAB, aside from a board position, but after seeing the organization needed someone to step up and continue the progress of past leadership it seemed like the right thing to do. Special thanks to immediate past presidents Alicia Wincze-Hughes and Tom Pedulla for their service; it’s a goal of mine to continue to build on their progress.

Issues with Triple Crown Coverage

Some of our members encountered issues during this year’s Triple Crown. The organization stepped in regarding a credential issue at the Derby – thanks Alicia and Greg Hall – and thankfully we were able to work with the NYRA communications and security departments to avoid being completely shut out of properly covering the Belmont Stakes.

NYRA’s initial plan of not allowing any members of the press (not including photographers) in the winner’s circle, at the bottom of the horse path and even halfway down the tunnel was modified somewhat, with access to winning and losing connections for the undercard stakes at the end of the horse path. The initial plan also called for the press to only be allowed to watch the Belmont on a television monitor near the Photo Room. Thankfully we were able to work out a deal to secure a spot in an area normally reserved for horsemen behind the winner’s circle walkway. While not ideal, it was adequate until it was insufficiently staffed by security and quickly overrun with horsemen, fans, ticket holders and others prior to the Belmont.

As I stated the day before the race and again Saturday to the head of NYRA security and Pat McKenna, NYRA’s director of communications, not being allowed on the horse path to watch the Belmont Stakes and to talk with losing connections was not acceptable and made it difficult for some members of the press to adequately cover the race. I plan to write a letter to NYRA stating our issues with this year’s setup and hopefully offer some alternatives for the future.

After observing this for many years, I know that members of the racing press are not the primary issue, yet we seem to be easy targets for restricted access. However, it does not help our cause at all when credentialed media attempt to circumvent security procedures.

If you encountered any issues covering this year’s Triple Crown, or any other race this year, please send me a note at tom@thisishorseracing.com.

Elections

Aside from that, please see at the foot of this newsletter minutes from the NTWAB meeting Wednesday, May 2 at Churchill Downs, which includes the results of the officer/board member election and other important information. The makeup of the slate of officers is largely unchanged, with Greg Hall (Vice President), Dick Downey (Treasurer) and Jessie Oswald (Secretary) continuing in their positions, and myself as president.

Annual Awards Dinner

NTWAB and Awards Dinner Chair Loren Hebel-Osborne worked with Breeders’ Cup to determine the best possible date for our annual Awards Dinner, and it will be Wednesday, October 31 at a location in Louisville to be announced very soon.

Annual Awards Nominations

In the meantime, it’s time to begin the process of determining our award winners. Please send suggestions to Jessie Oswald at jboswald68@gmail.com. The officers and directors will review the suggestions and develop a group of finalists to be voted on by the membership this summer. Here are the five awards:

Walter Haight Award – Career excellence in Turf writing

Jim McKay Award – Career excellence in Broadcasting

Joe Palmer Award – Meritorious service to racing

Mr. Fitz Award – Typifying the spirit of racing

Bill Mooney Courage Award – Displaying courage in the face of tremendous adversity

For more information on the awards, including lists of past winners, please visit the organization’s website at /index. There is a drop-down menu on the upper right-hand corner of the home page.

Conclusion
 
Thanks again for trusting me with the position of president of the NTWAB. I look forward to serving the organization in the spirit of the original mission to “promote and encourage closer relationships and camaraderie among its members, improve working conditions, foster better understanding between its membership and the governing powers of Thoroughbred racing, and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of Thoroughbred racing and breeding.”

See you soon,

Tom Law, NTWAB President
June 13, 2018

 

NTWAB General Meeting Minutes

May 2, 2018

Called together at 12:01 p.m. Roll call/quorum.

Acknowledging members’ passing – Bill Nack, Mattie Graves. Tim Layden (Bill Nack) and Tim Wilkin (Mattie Graves) were asked to look into charities that might be appropriate for NTWAB to make a donation to on behalf of Nack and Graves. No objections. Bob Fortus undergoing health issues – Alicia took and sent him a group picture of everyone.

Minutes from November Meeting Reviewed

At our last meeting November 2, a quorum (count was actually 19) gathered and we voted in three new members: Justina Severini of TDN, Andrew Champagne of DRF, and John Cherwa of the LA Times. The Treasurer's Report was read, details of the NTWAB Awards dinner that night were briefly discussed, and VP Greg Hall gave a short update on when the membership audit would take place with letters likely going out by January or February. The meeting was dismissed after about five minutes.

Treasurer’s Report 2018

Treasurer Dick Downey distributed copies of a treasurer’s report dated April 25, 2018 to those in attendance and read it as well.

New membership Applications Submitted to General Membership

Anthony Stabile, HRRN – nomination approved.
Tim Sullivan, Courier-Journal – nomination approved.
No Others nominated or presented.

Media Guide

The Media Guide put together by NTWAB is out – available in print copy for those that need it, was also emailed to all members.

Kentucky Derby Credentialing

Caton Bredar issue – possible effect on Breeders’ Cup and future Derbys and all. Caton Bredar credentialing issue has been resolved. NTWAB, as an organization, will always support our members and made calls, letters supporting her. Advocacy — NTWAB made calls, made a preliminary statement to The Paulick Report and worked to right the situation for a member. The situation was resolved before we did more. This goes to show what the NTWAB can be for its members and why you and others should be a part of it. It’s why we’re here, to advocate for members and our brothers and sisters in general -- with tracks, with track executives and horsemen, even with other turf writers.

Derby parking and Shuttles

Concerns: Lot by HBPA is available, the “gray” lot, beside “purple” (old church site lot).

Nicole Russo spoke on issues she’s experienced with the parking. Expo lot is circled on parking pass (P lot) at Gate 1 or Gate 6 (this is the one to use). Darren Rogers has been passing our concerns on to the operation team.

Officer Elections

Officers and three board members. Greg thanked Alicia for her job as President.

President. Open the floor for nominations. Tom Law and Tom Pedulla nominated and accepted. Ballots distributed and counted: Law = majority    

Vice President. Greg Hall nominated. No other nominations.

Secretary — Jessie seeks re-election and is considered in nomination. No other nominations.

Treasurer — Dick seeks re-election and is considered in nomination. No other nominations

All voted in.

Tom Law spoke, noting that his current situation allows him more time to devote to this, and generally noted his appreciation for the membership and his passion in helping the NTWAB.

Board Positions

LaMarra vacancy, Nicole Russo, and Frank Angst seats. Nicole and Frank seek re-election and former president Tom Pedulla has expressed an interest in returning to the board. Both will be considered in nomination. No other nominations. All voted in. Tom Law’s new election as President opens up a vacancy on board, but board will discuss later and fill.

Membership Issues

Membership inquiry: Marty and Greg will complete this summer, additionally looking at our Eclipse voters who don’t vote at all.

Update from Dick and Jessie on where membership numbers stand.

Membership drive will follow the Membership Inquiry. We’re still missing people who should be in the organization. Encourage people who qualify to join any time, all the time.

Breeders’ Cup

See what works and doesn’t work this week so we can take it up with Jim Gluckson and Darren Rogers.

Dinner Update

Loren Hebel-Osborne talked about status. Currently in talks with Breeders’ Cup on determining proper day. Media hotel will be Galt House. Dinner consideration is Whiskey Rye (Chef Edward Lee’s new place) and buy out the restaurant to accommodate our group. Have also talked about doing a complimentary event to a Breeders’ Cup event. Tom Pedulla expressed interest that we may become an undercard event if we try to do something in association with Breeders’ Cup.

Eclipse Steering Committee

Did have first meeting, reevaluating guidelines.

Other Business

Jennie Rees scholarship set up at U of L.

Jay Privman asked about the Eclipse award voting being disclosed. It typically is and just did not happen this time due to human error.

Adjournment

Adjourned at 12:44.