Holiday Newsletter from Our President

By Tom Law, NTWAB President
Posted Dec. 4, 2019

Greetings fellow Turf Writers and Broadcasters. I want to wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving and early best wishes for the upcoming holiday season. It’s hard to believe the Breeders’ Cup, our Annual Awards Dinner and semi-annual meeting are now more than a month away. I apologize for the delay getting out this communication.

The Minutes from the Oct. 31 meeting at Clocker’s Corner at Santa Anita Park are set out below, and within you’ll find information on the club’s finances, membership, Breeders’ Cup logistical problems and other business. Please take a moment to review the Minutes and feel free to pass along any questions.

We discussed some of the issues with the Auxiliary Media Center at the meeting and some (not all) of those concerns were addressed with the publicity teams from Santa Anita and the Breeders’ Cup. If you attended the Breeders’ Cup and encountered any issues related to access, credentials, parking, work spaces, etc., please pass those along to me at tom@thisishorseracing.com.

I’ve been compiling a lot of these complains, questions and concerns over the course of the year, which certainly has proven to be unlike any in recent years or ever. Some of you have already sent along some comments and I encourage you to keep them coming if you have them.

Now a few highlights:

• Huge thanks go out to Loren Hebel-Osborne for again leading the effort for our annual Awards Dinner at The Derby the Wednesday prior to the Breeders’ Cup. She handles everything with the utmost professionalism and we couldn’t do it without her. Other thanks go to Byron King, who did a great job selling the ads for this year’s Awards Dinner program.

• Welcome back to Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman to the NTWAB Board. Jay, our organization’s president from 2000-2001 and also a past officer, fills the remaining year on Tom Pedulla’s two-year term. Tom resigned in the late summer and the NTWAB thanks him for all his past service.

• Speaking of Byron King of BloodHorse, his name was added to our membership roster along with Christie DeBernardis of Thoroughbred Daily News to bring our group to 187 members.

• The next NTWAB meeting will be conducted prior to the Kentucky Derby, and since it’s an even-numbered year it also serves as the election of our four officers and half of the organization’s six directors.

That about covers most of it. Some additional information is below that you’ll find important heading into the New Year. Take care.

ECLIPSE AWARDS

Voting for the Eclipse Awards begins soon, and members in good standing (i.e. you’ve paid your dues) will receive an electronic ballot Dec. 12. Voting will again be conducted online, and we encourage you to wait until all of the year’s Grade 1 stakes are run before voting. After this weekend, the three remaining Grade 1 stakes will be the Malibu, La Brea and American Oaks at Santa Anita Dec. 26.

Voting will be conducted until 2 p.m. Jan. 2, 2020 and finalists will be announced Saturday, Jan. 4 via a live stream from Gulfstream Park. The Eclipse Awards will be given out Jan. 23 at Gulfstream.

Finally, the NTWAB officers and directors were polled for suggestions for any individuals or organizations they consider worth of an Eclipse Award of Merit and/or a Special Eclipse Award. Feel free to send along any suggestions you have as well, to NTWAB President Tom Law at tom@thisishorseracing.com.

MINUTES OF NTWAB GENERAL MEETING
Oct. 31, 2019
Clocker’s Corner at Santa Anita Park

⦁    Roll call/quorum – Tom Law (President), Natalie Voss (Director), Marty McGee (Director), Jay Privman (Director), Frank Angst (Director), Alicia Hughes (Past President), Jennie Rees (Past President), Ron Flatter, Bob Kieckhefer, Tim Wilkin, Byron King, Evan Hammonds, Mike Farrell, Julie June Stewart, Beth Harris, Lenny Shulman, Ed McNamara, Lisa Groothedde, Rudi Groothedde. 11:30 a.m. PDT.

⦁    Minutes – No action taken on May 2019 Meeting Minutes

⦁    Treasurer’s Report – Tom Law (from Dick Downey) – Checking account balance $9,945.13; Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares balance $84,729.78; Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund balance $13,081,92. Investment balance $97,811.70 through Oct. 29, 2019. Fund has done well since the 2018 Breeders’ Cup. Year over year the net asset value of the fund increased by $11,697, or 13.58%. During the same period the S&P 500 increased by 13.19%. Dick reports: “Everything is good. We have quite a few receivables owing from Byron's excellent ad sales. We owe very little for the annual dinner, having already paid the guaranteed $15,000 to The Derby, 50% of the cost of production of the dinner program already paid to the printer and the designer, and the award trays paid in full. Commissions for the dinner program ad sales are unpaid.

⦁    Membership applications for the general membership – Board recommended applications from Byron King (BloodHorse, endorsed by Marty McGee & Dick Downey) and Christie DeBernardis (Thoroughbred Daily News, endorsed by Jessica Martini & Tom Law), passed by membership. Applications not recommended by the board but discussed at meeting – Chris Robbins (ThoroCap) and Dr. Greg Beroza (WRHU Radio Hofstra Univ./Horse Nation). Total membership of 187 through Oct. 31.

⦁    Breeders’ Cup logistics – The location, access points to and lack of security of Auxiliary Media Center was discussed. Location this year at end of grandstand, far from the winner’s circle, paddock, making it difficult for writers (and the BC Notes Team) to get back and forth in timely manner. Tom will discuss with Jim Gluckson, requesting additional security, the possibility of making the whole room for media only (patrons are allowed in portions of the area not cordoned off) and other concerns.

⦁    Awards dinner update and details – Loren/Tom: The dinner at The Derby went well, award winners and presenters seemed pleased; food and service all top notch and another great job by Awards Dinner Chairwoman Loren Hebel-Osborne. The 60-page program included profiles of award winners. Program included 39 ads, majority sold by Byron King, for total of $22,900. 2020 Awards Dinner locations discussed/proposed by members, including The Kentucky Castle, Castle & Key Distillery, Marriott Griffin Gate (2015 site), Jeff Ruby’s, The Apiary and Eppings on Eastside.

⦁    Membership Review update – Tom (from Greg Hall/Jessie Oswald): Questionnaire sent to members needing to clarify status, most returned information and any changes to status were made. Additional work needs to be done, especially on those members who did not return email seeking clarification.

⦁    Board Vacancy update – Tom: Jay Privman named to fill vacant spot on board left by Tom Pedulla’s resignation in late August. Jay will fill out term that expires at May 2020 meeting.

⦁    Other business – Natalie Voss and Tom Law, after discussing the organization’s account balances, asked about re-formation of charitable committee to explore what to do, if anything, with the money. Initial committee volunteers include Natalie, Tom, Julie June Stewart and Greg Hall.

⦁    Adjournment – 12:01 p.m.

Minutes recorded by NTWAB President Tom Law