Dear FTBOA Members & Friends:
Mark Your Calendars- Informational Meeting for Our Members- Friday, June 28, 3pm @Marion Co Ag Center, 2232 NE Jackson Rd., Ocala, FL, 34470
In the interest of keeping our membership informed and engaged, your FTBOA staff and Board respectfully invite all FTBOA members to this important communications and information sharing gathering. Topics to be presented include: election enhancements, completed communications survey analysis, legislative session review, Florida race track updates, etc.
In order to attend, all you have to do to take part in this meeting (and anyone else planning to attend this members-only gathering) is complete and send in the attached RSVP Meeting Attendance Form (also available on our website) and have it received by the office no later than June 24.
As was the objective with a similar and open membership meeting we conducted in February, we hope to use, on an ongoing basis, these less formal and more conversational type gatherings in order to better inform and empower our membership while increasing our accessibility as well as fostering team spirit within our association. We have much going on in our industry as well as with FTBOA. We hope to have the pleasure of discussing both personally with you during this informational meeting we have called for June 28. This is a great time to say hello to your fellow Members, do some business networking , possibly make new friends and enjoy the stories and camaraderie associated with being a part of the thoroughbred horse industry in Florida.
There’s Still Time & Reason to Recruit &/or Sign-up New Regular & Associate FTBOA Members!
Speaking of Members, it’s never too late to introduce a new friend to our local thoroughbred breeding and owning industry through joining (or renewing) membership of the FTBOA. For those not officially involved yet in breeding or owning but having an interest to learn and see more about it, our Associate Member program is a great way to get new folks involved. For information on membership, please go to our website at ftboa.com or contact Membership Services Coordinator Tammy Gantt via e-mail at
or by telephone at 352.629.2160. A regular membership is for those who bred or raced horses in Florida and an associate is someone who is interested in the industry or future membership.
South Florida Race Dates Overlap Collision Course Unfortunately Appears to Continue On Track
No real significant changes have been made from either track’s end since we last addressed the topic in this or the President’s Report. Therefore, we and our members join the horsemen, employees and fans throughout the state in hoping for a constructive solution that will largely mitigate the potentially negative and thorny issues and developments that often result from head-to-head racing within the same market.
Towards this hope, I can assure you that your FTBOA continues to engage with the two primary decision makers (the tracks) on this topic on a multiple times a week basis. We have hoped to facilitate decisions that would be in the interest of the entire Florida thoroughbred industry. Our level of engagement and relevance to this process has become material-with my receiving countless phone calls on certain days from the leaders and decision makers involved with both of the tracks as well as horsemen. Our message remains simple – we want to see all the players (including the tracks) in the Florida racing game to succeed and improve. We do not believe a generally uncoordinated Miami area race dates overlap battle is a good way to build the Florida breeding, owning and racing segments of our business. As we write this column, we still find ourselves in talks with folks that can make a difference with the current impasse. Our door remains open to all who seek us out in hopes of bringing some more sanity to these unfortunate racing and dates challenges.
FTBOA will not give up on trying to make a positive impact on this and other issues of importance facing racing within the state.
These have not always been easy conversations to have as the subject matter can be very complicated, emotional, convoluted and fluid. It must also be said that we are generally dealing with some very good people who truly want the best for their organizations and, in turn, industry. I have found the leaders of Calder, Gulfstream and the FHBPA to be decent and caring administrators extremely committed to their respective stakeholders and associations. I respect and enjoy working with these executives during the course of business. However, it’s when hard-driven, vision-bound companies such as these co-exist in a hyper competitive space and then go after each other’s vision or turf that organizations like ours and our breeder/owner members can get in the middle of an uncomfortable cross-fire of words, economics and uncertainty. That being said, it is imperative that FTBOA keep on point and take whatever heat comes as a result of our trying to encourage peace, stability and success amongst all the players associated with the South Florida racing scene. It has been the position of the FTBOA from day one of this most recent dates skirmish that our organization not take sides of one track or another and instead, serve as a neutral/independent yet heavily vested stakeholder willing to help all sides facilitate and reach an acceptable solution. After all, it is in our and the overall industry’s best interest to see as much economic success, racing and employment opportunities in South Florida thoroughbred racing as the market can reasonably support.
There is so much going on right now in Florida racing. The moving parts can seem at times, as too many to count or difficult to assemble. FTBOA appreciates you, our members and friends, and your support as we work to constructively and respectfully persuade those making these far-reaching decisions that straight-on/head-to-head, stacked on top of and inter market competitive race dates will not be in the best interest of the Florida Thoroughbred breeders and owners, nor for the industry as a whole, including the tracks and their customers.
In a nutshell, here’s what we have consistently communicated to all concerned-particularly the tracks: First, everyone involved needs to take a pause to truly and realistically evaluate the likely and potential impacts a dates clash has on everyone involved. Secondly, we strongly request a more integrated cooperative landscape of race days or weeks versus running most of the crosstown competitive dates on top of each other as the tracks have currently scheduled. Third, if there must be an overlap of dates, it is not in the best interest of our Florida breeders, owners and trainers to have their horses and stalls forcefully locked in one location. Free movement of horses will be essential for horsemen and racing fans to better deal with the burdens often brought about by head-to-head racing dates competition. Finally, we respectfully (and in the spirit of increased communication and cooperation) repeat our past request that the leadership and decision makers from ALL 5 of the leading thoroughbred entities in Florida (Calder, Gulfstream, FHBPA, Tampa, FTBOA) assemble together in one room, very soon, for the sole purpose of sharing/understanding visions and identifying priorities so that we may all collectively collaborate on growing Florida racing and breeding on to greater stability, higher visibility and increased economic success for breeders, owners, trainers, the tracks, customers and the state and local communities.
We encourage and applaud everyone, particularly Calder, Gulfstream and the FHBPA at this juncture, who support or are involved with keeping the dialogue and related compromise possibilities alive and open during these intense times when negotiation and mediation take much work to be kept alive. Let’s hope all of us in the Florida industry come out with some type of “Win-Win” result for all. No matter what the final outcome becomes, let us all also commit to working with the end result, supporting our fellow industry stakeholders in their pursuit of racing growth and success and continuing to advocate the considerable strengths, benefits and attractions associated with our world-class thoroughbred breeding, owning, training and racing in Florida as well as the even brighter future we can make happen through cooperation and communication.
Dear FTBOA Members & Friends:
I trust this newest edition of my monthly update finds all well and busy-from the foaling shed to the stallion barn to the training and race tracks. After just literally completing a state-wide road-trip from Tallahassee on to Tampa down deep into South Florida and back through Marion County and virtually all parts in between, it seemed like a good time to share with you some thoughts, observations, concerns and hopes as they relate to our Florida Thoroughbred industry.
Though it would not be appropriate, timely nor productive to share all of the details discussed during my various meetings, visits and strategic brain-storming sessions which involved each of the three Thoroughbred tracks, horsemen leadership and government officials among others, I can tell you the subject matter I placed on the discussion table clearly focused on these primary areas:
1. What can be/needs to be done (both short and long-term) to build and grow the economics of Thoroughbred Breeders and Horse and Farm Owners and operators in Florida?
2. How can the FTBOA help advance viable and successful Thoroughbred racing in Florida?
3. How can the collective Florida Thoroughbred industry best deal with the potential of expanded casino gaming in our state in the future?
4. How in the world to make sense out of, understand the possible impacts of and best advise our owner/members as to how to navigate the very complicated, new and unchartered waters resulting from the somewhat bizarre and disconcerting race dates re-shuffle just entered into by the Southern Florida tracks (with some additional complexity tossed into the mix by Tampa)?
The “Mother” of all Race Date Conflicts
I was in the executive offices of both major tracks during their final decision-making hours at the state-imposed deadline time. It is important to note that under the almost total lack of regulatory structure as it applies to racing dates which is very unique to Florida and foreign to the rest of North America, horsemen and owner-driven organizations such as FTBOA and FHBPA have no control or even material say in such a critical issue. This is very unfortunate. All we can do is try to constructively influence, voice our concerns and try to understand where things are headed and why.
I must admit, that much of what was the final outcome is both confounding and frustrating to me and my peers. It is equally difficult to fathom how it will all play out, what adjustments will need to be made or what the negative and positive impacts (short and long term) of such change and competition might be. This I do know, both tracks, though not totally excited about the newly mutually pursued overlap of live race dates (particularly all weekends year-round starting in July), both feel fairly confident and seem certainly committed to make it work from each of their competitive perspectives. Though FTBOA (and I believe I can easily include FHBPA in this comment) is not enthusiastic about the overlap and is anxious about the disruption it could cause for our members, owners, horsemen, industry and wagering, we will be supportive of the tracks as best we appropriately can and try to build a cautious optimism that the increased number of South Florida Thoroughbred dates, races and running opportunities will lead to something good-though it is hard to believe the beneficial model will look exactly like this new one.
As of press time and, until the dust and fall-out from these dates machinations settle, it is too early for FTBOA or anyone to really know how this all shakes out. You can count on us to be on top of (and, when appropriate, in the middle of) things as they develop. Stay tuned.
Keeping Tabs on the HITS EHV-1 Outbreak
This is another very timely and somewhat complex development that your FTBOA has strived to understand and be on top of on virtually a daily basis with the medical and regulatory experts/decision-makers with our priority being communicating the most current and factual information to our members. Our FEP (FL Equine Publication) team lead by Editor Brock Sheridan, Associate Editor Declan Doyle and Contributing Editor/FTBOA Membership Services Coordinator Tammy Gantt have done yeoman’s work in keeping our members informed via our website, Wire to Wire publication and member email.
Though currently limited to horses that have shown in the Marion County-based mega horse show HITS (Horses in the Sun) and fortunately appearing to now be fairly under control, it is critical that all Thoroughbred people in the area be diligent and engaged regarding local developments related to the topic. From a former track operator perspective, the reaction to lock-down and tighten-up would have been much more swift and broad-sweeping if the outbreak had taken place at a track, sale or farm within our industry. As a current show horse owner, I have a layman’s perspective on how this all seemed to be handled by the show industry and regulators and can only note the differences in industry reaction.
Don’t Forget-March 31 is FTBOA Membership Renewal Time!
It’s that time of year again to not only renew your own membership but to recruit a friend. Those who want to be involved in FTBOA, our activities or the local Thoroughbred scene but have yet to take the official step into breeding or owning can become an Associate Member and experience many of the benefits enjoyed by our regular members. For those in the business, FTBOA membership is a key condition to being a part of breeding Florida-breds. In addition, your FTBOA office during the past year has worked very hard to develop a “Member Value-Add Program” which features an ever-growing number of special discounts and perks from dining establishments, golf courses, hotels, equine vendors and suppliers throughout the state with many more to come. We are proud to secure these benefits for our valued Members!
I hope to see many of you at our upcoming March 11 awards banquet as we celebrate the tradition and global success and achievements of our beloved Florida-bred Thoroughbreds and the dedicated people behind them.
Lonny T. Powell
Dear FTBOA Members & Friends:
As we now enter the frenzy and anticipation of the breeding season, I hope this newest column of mine finds all doing well.
During this busy time, it is important that FTBOA continues to reach-out, advocate and inform. I include the comments, observations and writings below for that purpose.
Open Meeting of Members Well Received
Thanks to the more than 50 FTBOA’s members, committee members, directors and staff who attended this first time-ever gathering of its kind. Your FTBOA Board of Directors once again did well by our members in having the foresight to make such a gathering happen. In addition to receiving member suggestions for ways we can further enhance and modernize our member communications as well as director election procedures, timely updates were given on the various member services, programs and volunteer opportunities that FTBOA management has been excited to put in the pipeline and share. Perhaps best received and of most interest were the preliminary results achieved to date resulting from a member communication survey generated from the FTBOA office. All in all, it was a great atmosphere to share and receive constructive feedback and ideas. It is a concept that will be worth repeating once or twice a year. Constructive forums such as this make our great Association even stronger and broader in scope and perspective.
As of this writing, there still seems to be no compromise between Gulfstream and Calder regarding the dreaded possibility of a summer dates overlap. Nothing good can come out of such head-to-head track competition in South Florida. We the breeders, the horsemen and, just as important, the fans are uncomfortably caught in the middle with no real control. We can only hope reasonable heads will prevail and a destructive summer dates overlap will be all or greatly avoided for the good of the Florida thoroughbred industry. The FTBOA stands ready to assist all stakeholders involved in facilitating some type of fair and reasonable solution and have made those intentions known to the various stakeholders involved. Stay tuned.
On a more positive side: I have had the opportunity to make my usual rounds and discussions in January with FTBOA members and track managers at both Gulfstream and Tampa Bay during live racing. Gulfstream continues to aggressively market their facility and present a more futuristic “wow” vision into what racing in the future will likely evolve into in certain locales via the embracing of entertainment, gaming and retail around a core quality racing floorshow. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay continues to draw refreshingly solid on-track crowds in an almost fair-like atmosphere where jockeys still sign autographs for up-close fans and take time to stop for photos with children and family members. We are really fortunate in Florida to have such diverse and popular racing venues such as these, as well as Calder within our Sunshine State’s borders.
In Praise of the Agricultural Way of Life
I was amused during this past Super Bowl that many in the conventional as well as the social media world became fascinated with one of the commercials (it was paid for by an automotive/pickup manufacturer) that was narrated by the “late-great” radio and life commentator, Paul Harvey. It was entitled “So God Made a Farmer”. Though many reacted like it was something new, I had to smile because I knew from when and where it exactly came from-because I was there when Mr. Harvey first read it!
It was the Fall of 1978, I was a freshman at the University of Idaho and I had traveled all the way over to Kansas City to represent the State of Idaho as their State President of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). We had two key-note speakers at that National Convention that week, Mr. Harvey and President Jimmy Carter. As one of numerous state FFA presidents seated on the stage surrounded by American flags as a backdrop, I got to not only hear these two speak to the large crowd from a very close vantage point, I was also able to personally shake their hands and introduce myself to these great Americans backstage-memories that I still cherish today. As impressed as I was by meeting my first U.S. president (an opportunity that would later repeat itself), I was even more touched by the legendary Paul Harvey who both of my Grandpas had turned me onto as a young kid sitting with them by the radio. He read a tribute to Farmers that I would never forget. I reprint below to our many FTBOA Members who have shared the blessing to have been a part of the Agricultural way of life. I bet you will see a bit of your Grandpa, Grandma, Dad and/or Mom (in addition to a part of yourself) amongst these wonderful words as recited by Mr. Harvey as I sat there in awe in Kansas City in 1978.
SO GOD MADE A FARMER
By Paul Harvey (as given during the 1978 FFA Annual Convention in Kansas City, Mo)
“And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.
“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.
“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’” So God made a farmer.”
Have a productive, safe and happy February!
Lonny T. Powell
Dear FTBOA Members & Friends:
As we welcome 2013 and whatever rewards and challenges it may have in store for each of us, the FTBOA is gearing up and looking forward to doing our part for the Florida thoroughbred industry. That being said, I’d like to use my first CEO Corner of the New Year to provide you with a few key timely updates.
TALKING FLORIDA STALLLIONS
The Florida thoroughbred breeding industry experienced some encouraging positive trends which signal the early stages of a long-awaited rebound in the business, after many years mirroring the economic slide experienced throughout most of North America. Much of this momentum in Florida was fueled by our Stallions and the operations behind them who aggressively market and promote their virtues.
According to The Jockey Club’s 2012 Annual Report of Mares Bred (RMB), when compared with its fellow “Top Ten” Thoroughbred breeding states and provinces (including Kentucky, New York, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Ontario) , FLORIDA was ONLY one of two states whose stallions covered more mares in 2012 than in 2011.
In addition, according to the Jockey Club’s Publications and Resources Breeding Statistics for the 2011 Breeding Year/2012 Foaling Year, FLORIDA is the ONLY “Top Ten” Thoroughbred producing state or province whose stallions produced more live foals in 2012 than in 2011.
FURTHERMORE, we saw at least nine new Stallions arrive or relocate back to Florida in preparation for the 2013 breeding season. Though statewide we estimate to be down two stallions from the prior year due to the sale of certain coveted individuals to the International Community, we actually experienced an INCREASE OF 5 STALLIONS REGISTERED WITH FTBOA over the prior year!
UPCOMING IMPORTANT DATES FOR FTBOA MEMBERS FOR 2013 (Please Mark Your Calendars)
* Stallion Season Charity Auction - January 15
* Open Meetings of the Communications & Governance Committees - January 31
* Stallion Registration Deadline - February 15
* Annual Awards Banquet - March 11
* FTBOA Membership Renewal Deadline - March 31
CONSTRUCTIVE INPUT OF MEMBERS SOUGHT FOR COMMUNICATIONS & ELECTIONS PROGRAMS AT JANUARY 31 OPEN MEETINGS
Continuing in the spirit of facilitating open dialogue between and amongst our membership, management and directors, your Board has set Thursday, January 31 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Marion County Ag Center for Members-Only OPEN meetings of the 2013 Communications and Governance Advisory Committees.
The purpose of this informal forum for interested Members will be for the Board and management to receive constructive input and ideas on two specific areas: 1. How we might enhance communications from FTBOA to the membership and 2. How we might further enhance our Board elections process. The committees will then take this input under consideration as they conduct their discussions amongst their respective memberships during this winter and spring. We will be providing our members with additional information soon (including RSVP and discussion sign-up) over the next week or two. We hope to see you there.
All of us associated with FTBOA look forward to working with you as we strive to make 2013 a most positive and productive year for you, your Association and our industry.
Lonny T. Powell
Dear FTBOA Members & Friends:
On behalf of your FTBOA staff, officers and directors I would like to wish you and yours the happiest and healthiest of the Holiday Season. I’ve always enjoyed this time of year as we celebrate family, peace and giving while reflecting upon the year about to close, at the same time, looking to what the future year has in store for us.
Looking back on 2012
It’s hard to believe that, as of Jan. 1, 2013, I will have been with the FTBOA and a resident of Ocala and Florida for exactly one year. In so many ways the time has flown by. In other ways it seems like I have been here and working with many of you much longer. I say this much more from the perspectives of comfort, relationships and familiarity.
As I reflect upon the year soon to close and the many ways your Association had a positive impact on our industry and community, I cannot help but be extremely thankful for the welcome, cooperation and support I have received.
I (and we) are so very fortunate to have Phil Matthews as our president on the Board. Previous President Fred Brei had done so much spade work to get our organization moving forward. Phil was the perfect person to then step-up and lead this period of transition. I work with him constantly and never cease to be impressed by the investment of time and “cerebral coolness” he brings to the FTBOA Board Room. Phil’s and my fellow officers during my short tenure (Brent Fernung, George Russell, Francis Vanlangendonck, Bonnie Heath and Sheila DiMare) also have my greatest appreciation for their considerable quality time and counsel extended to me and my staff on a frequent and ongoing basis. The entire volunteer Board of Directors has been more than engaged and generous in their gift of time and service.
Many thanks to the numerous FTBOA members, committee, community and industry members who shared ideas, offered support, participated where possible and generally made me feel welcome during this first year.
Finally, I would particularly like to acknowledge our hard working and modest staff. Not only do they take their jobs and responsibility to the FTBOA very seriously and with passion - they are also a pure pleasure to be around and as good of people as a Boss could ever hope to have on his Team.
Looking Ahead to 2013
We feel positive we are moving in a direction for another year of our foal crop growth and rebound while more and more investment returns to the Florida and Marion County economies. This is a positive and long-awaited start to our turnaround. While we build upon this encouraging trend, Breeders and Owners must remain ever vigilant in taking on the myriad of challenges we will continually and certainly face while also seizing upon the opportunities that best present themselves to us.
We plan to continue on as well as ramp up our efforts in the areas of Member communications and services. One of the first major efforts in the New Year we hope to make in that regard is having open meetings of our recently formed Communications and Governance Committees over at the Marion County Extension Center Auditorium on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. Our purpose will be to sit down and constructively discuss how we might continue to enhance our organization and membership experience within these areas. We hope many of you will roll up your sleeves, take a seat at the table and help us brainstorm how we might possibly continue to improve in those two specific areas which is the foundation of progressive and proactive membership associations.
Also, members will be receiving membership renewals in the mail in the upcoming weeks as we begin our 2013 membership drive.
Over at the FTBOA offices we truly believe we have much to be thankful for as well as much to look forward to during this Holiday Season, upcoming New Year and beyond. We trust you agree.
Thank you for your valued support and membership. Happiest of Holidays to you!
Chief Executive Officer & EVP
Dear Valued FTBOA Members & Friends:
As we prepare to exit summer while anticipating the fall, your FTBOA Office would like to remind our Members about certain upcoming events as well as additions.
October 19, 1pm Meeting of Members (Marion County Ag Center, North Hall auditorium, 2232 NE Jacksonville Rd., Ocala 34470)
This is our Annual Meeting where the results of Member voting for Directors are announced. You will be receiving your ballots in the mail this month. In order to participate to the fullest in your Association, PLEASE EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT AS A MEMBER TO VOTE ! If you vote in person, your ballot must be hand delivered to the onsite election teller before the meeting is called to order. If you vote by mail, follow the ballot instructions and note that the ballot must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, 2012.
Please note our new location for this meeting. The election process has now been modernized in two particular areas: 1. In addition to listing the five individuals recommended to you by your Board to fill the five open slots, there will be room for you to write-in up to two other candidates, should you desire. 2. In order for a ballot to be considered, you must vote for five total candidates-no more or less.
Time to start thinking about renewing your FTBOA membership while inviting others in the Thoroughbred business to join.
Not only do you want to make sure that you and the appropriate members of your family and organization continue as members in good standing, it would also be of future benefit to our industry and Association to reach out to potential new members of like interest and mind. Should you come across such a person, please encourage their interests in Thoroughbred breeding or ownership, send them our way for further discussion and let us know so we can be ready to continue on the discussion via our offices.
Ongoing Member Outreach & Communications Emphasis
Stepping-up our efforts to modernize and otherwise re-tool our association in order to, among other things, better serve and represent various points-of-view and needs of our diverse membership will continue to be an area of emphasis for this administration. Receiving constructive feedback, educating, informing and facilitating support for what we need to do for a strong future are all major ingredients to the membership retention and recruitment efforts mix of your Association.
A significant contribution towards this re-energized effort has been fulfilled with the arrival of new FTBOA management team member, Tammy Gantt. Recently relocated to Ocala from South Florida and with more than 13 plus years in marketing as the promotion, events and sales director with Calder, Tammy is not a stranger to many of you. In addition to her considerable experience with the Florida industry, Miami area racing scene, horses, customer service and promotion, she also brings non-profit office and communications experience with the national horse breed-centric AQHA, USTA and the Harness Tracks of America. A graduate of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, Tammy earned an earlier degree in Ag Communications/Journalism from Missouri State University.
As Coordinator of Membership Services & Programs and a direct report to me, Tammy will work hard to enhance our Membership communications and services. She will also contribute via writing and advertising sales with our Florida Equine Publications (FEP). Tammy has a passion for Florida Thoroughbreds and appreciation for the challenges and opportunities faced by those who breed or own these great horses. Tammy’s job to start is to be very accessible to each and every one of you who wants to share ideas, offer help or seek information or assistance. We encourage you to make an appointment with her and come by or call and productively brain-storm or just say hi and welcome Tammy. She has “hit the ground running” jumping right in with our OBS booth during her first week. I am confident you will find her to be enthusiastic, sympathetic, caring, knowledgeable and a great listener. She is a solid addition to a small but dedicated, hard-working quality staff at FTBOA/FEP of which I am proud and with whom I am honored to serve with.
“I am very honored to be a part of an organization that is so dedicated to its mission and membership,” Gantt said. “Almost overnight, the FTBOA has reinvented itself into a forward thinking, dynamic and idea fostering environment. Being involved in the successful execution of the vision of the future of FTBOA gives me an opportunity to give back to the Florida thoroughbred industry that has been good to me for so long.”
We have big expectations for Tammy and are excited about her coming on to Team FTBOA to help us enhance our membership and communications experience. Please join us in welcoming her on board.
Chief Executive Officer & EVP
Dear FTBOA Members:
As the month of August and summer come nearer to conclusion, the time has arrived to get those Florida-Bred registration forms in. Though most of you have likely already completed and submitted, we want to make sure to remind everyone that Friday, August 31, 2012 is the deadline (either postmarked or dropped off in office no later than this date) for registering your 2012 Florida-Breds without penalty.
Applications may be downloaded from our website (Click here to download the FTBOA Foal Application.) or by coming by our facility during office hours. As long as the “Breeder of record” is the same, you may designate up to five (5) foals on the same form. Please sign, date and check your membership status before returning back to us.
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to please include your current email address when you submit your foal registration forms so that we have an electronic means of contacting, advising and updating our modern day membership as needed.
Thank you for your interest and investment in the Florida Thoroughbred Breeding industry. We wish much health, happiness and success to you and our 2012 Florida-Bred foals!
Chief Executive Officer & EVP
Dear FTBOA Members & Friends:
“I’ll (we’ll) Have Another – PLEASE !!!”
The ever-elusive Triple Crown. The Thoroughbred world has waited what seems to be an eternity since Florida-bred Affirmed got the difficult job done way back in1978. I, along with many in our Sport, am more than ready to see at least one more Triple Crown achieved in my lifetime.
Sure, we’ve seen the numerous close calls – the Silver Charms, Real Quiets, Charismatics and Smarty Jones among others all gave us some heart-pounding followed by heart-wrenching moments in the interim years. But still, no one won the rights to “The Crown”. Numerous fans and pundits began to proclaim The Crown was one more memory from the sport’s majestic past no longer destined to return. Some said it was because the “great” horses of the gloried past simply were not as common place due to things ranging from breeding to medication to an over emphasis on speed to a “lack of real horsemen and horsemanship skills” and we would never see a Triple Crown champion again. I know, personally, after attending more than my fair share of Belmont Stakes days resulting in no Triple Crown champion, I had even begun to wonder if we would ever see one again.
There’s no doubt that all of Thoroughbred racing is going through very difficult and challenging political, economic and competitive times. In the face of these issues, Thoroughbred racing achieving a rare Triple Crown after an absence of 34 years in front of a huge broadcast audience may be just the right shot in the arm for what ails it. One thing for sure, it can’t hurt!
Even though this particular horse/jockey/trainer combo with I’ll Have Another took me completely by surprise, you cannot call him a “fluke” or “one-trick pony” after his Preakness win. Let’s wish him a safe and very successful Belmont Stakes. Though we know the odds are stacked significantly against winning The Crown, it would be great to see the sport make some positive history within all of today’s current events. I’m enthusiastically rooting for the return of the “Karma of the Crown”!
Honoring & Remembering Our Fathers
For as much as I look forward to the month of June and the Belmont Stakes traditional offering, I cannot help but be a little sad and reflective as this is also the month where we honor our Dads on Father’s Day. I find Father’s Day to be a bitter-sweet holiday for me during the last almost ten years since my father passed away. Sure, as a dad, I have enjoyed getting my share of ties, books, movies and dinners from my own three great kids – and that is really neat and appreciated. I cannot think of a role more important and difficult to fill in these modern times than that of a parent. I am honored and blessed to be a dad. All that being said, June 17 will be a long sad day as I have no dad for whom to get a goofy tie, bar-B-Q utensils, hunting knife or watch, or with whom to share some racing stories.
My dad was “old-school”, that’s for sure. As a third-generation horseman (his father and grandfather farmed with draft horses) he quit school at 14 at the encouragement of some local Southern California ranchers in order to match race Quarter Horses down the dry river beds on the Mexico/California border with wagering anything but “pari-mutuel”. By the time he was 15, he race rode full-time and he broke his maiden at historic Caliente before moving his tack to Santa Anita where he won two races on his very first card. For the next almost 30 years and countless broken bones, hospital stays as well as wins and success, Dad applied his skills and did some serious race-riding at Hollywood Park, Del Mar, Arlington Park, Washington National, Hialeah, Tropical Park, Golden Gate Fields, Bay Meadows, Ak-Sar-Ben, Turf Paradise and Longacres.
Growing up in this environment where the backstretch and grandstands were my home, I didn’t realize that my family was not really “normal” – even though I saw nothing unusual about my dad wearing funny-fitting colored shirts and pants at work, throwing up his meals at home, living in a “hot box” and riding horses in the afternoons and evenings for his work. As I grew older, I came to understand what my dad did to support his family and keep live mounts on the horizon was far from “normal” – it was Herculean. After finally stepping down from the saddle, he went to work as one of the most vocal national level managers of the Jockeys’ Guild and he and I (as a track owner/operator) had to frequently go “toe-to-toe” when our opinions differed (though we worked hard to make sure it never got personal). Though he was not “book-smart”, he had a virtual PhD in how to represent and fight for his membership. After 25 years of that, he finished off as a steward for the state of Idaho before the years of tough work and hard living finally took him up to the big winner’s circle in the sky. I think of him every day and just wish I could (even if for one more time) pick up the phone and hear his voice. He really loved Florida in particular and was a huge believer in those who bred or owned. He would be thrilled and proud to know this is where I am. I try to honor him every day in everything I do at FTBOA with hard work, honesty and a dedication to helping and encouraging (versus tearing-down and criticizing) others.
To all of you Dads (and Moms and all parents) out there, thank you for being a parent and the associated sacrifice you must shoulder. Yours is the greatest “calling”. To those of us that are also blessed to have great memories of our own Fathers (and to have really known them), may we share in and continue on their wisdom, vision, sacrifice and work ethic. May we mentor, protect and encourage our kids and families as our Dads tried to do for us in our youth. May we also work very hard to make sure that they have the opportunity to enjoy and/or participate in our great Thoroughbred business should they ever choose to do so.
Dads and the pursuit of the Triple Crown – two great June traditions worth remembering, honoring, anticipating and celebrating. To me, they not only serve as memories and/or milestones of the past, they inspire me for the future. Best wishes to all of our FTBOA member Dads on their big day and to I’ll Have Another and his connections as they pursue their own special legacy and memories in history.
CEO & EVP
Dear FTBOA Members & Friends:
As the season comes to an end and many of you move on from a robust and encouraging 2 year-old sale at OBS, we felt it was a good time to update you on some of the recent out-reach efforts of the Association. By “out-reach” in our situation we specifically mean initiatives, invitations and projects that are designed to educate our Marion County residents, visitors and particularly business and civic communities about the importance and impact of Thoroughbred breeding, ownership, sales, training and racing to the economy, character, past and future of our city, county and state.
Interestingly, this concept has not just been driven from our side, though it has been one of my top priorities I have wanted to address since my first week at my new post-I and others who are associated with FTBOA have heard from numerous public officials, business and tourism advocates about “What can we do to bring the Ocala horse and business communities closer together?”. We are really starting to see the possibility of a “perfect storm” in terms of such dialogue becoming more and more frequent, intense and widespread within our Ocala community. This represents a significant opportunity and priority for us to pursue and maximize. Our community and industry need each other now more than ever.
This really was the inspiration to recently form one of our most active advisory committees to date.
The Out-Reach & Events Committee enthusiastically chaired by director and officer Bonnie Heath with board member Dianne Parks chairing the “Activities & Events” division of the committee (events basically meaning signing up member volunteers for OBS booth staffing, awards dinner sponsorship recruitment, making sure our facility is presentable for hosted events, attendance/representation at certain charity and community events, etc. (We’ll discuss these activities and needs at a future date).
So far, the Out-Reach Committee has been very involved with talking with community and business leaders and generally providing assistance and support to our limited office staff and resources. A few of the most recent and more visible activities with the Committee are discussed below.
Derby Day Doings
We have been active in the Ocala/Marion County community at recent events, including participation in the Appleton Museum’s Day of the Horse, held on Saturday, May 5th. During the day, FTBOA representatives joined other local equestrian organizations to share information about our industry, including a video presentation of Florida’s past champions.
Approximately 80 guests and /visitors attended the day’s event during the 25th anniversary of the Appleton Museum.
FTBOA Representatives were also on hand for the first annual Downtown Derby Days event held Saturday on the Ocala square. Memorabilia displayed at the FTBOA tent included trophies, silks and photos of Florida-bred Kentucky Derby winners along with trivia on the horses and their Ocala connections. Visitors could pick up Derby entry information along with current magazines from the Florida Equine Publications.
As an adjunct to our annual FTBOA Day featuring stakes for Florida-breds at Tampa as well as seating and buffet (nice to meet so many of you over there) the Committee arranged for the leasing of a single bus with the challenge being to the Board to bring with them on the trip, people within the community who have either never owned or bred a thoroughbred, or been to the races before (or those who may have long ago, but for some reason drifted away). Our hope was that such reaching out will contribute to this positive awareness and advocacy that I discussed earlier. That recruitment and transportation effort along with a beginners’ handicapping class on the bus and a great day of racing and a wonderful setting at Tampa Bay made for a very nice outing for all involved. Plus, it brought so many hard working, caring, positive, constructive and supportive FTBOA Members, staff and guests under one tent for the day.
These initiatives represent just a modest start to where we hope to go. Thanks to people like the many dedicated and constructive volunteer members of the Out-Reach & Events Committee as well as FTBOA Board and staff. We are already making progress as well as developing significant inroads and contacts to further the business of our Members and Association. We look forward to nurturing the early seeds and continued fruits of our labors with the purpose of harvesting positive awareness and business results for our industry in the months and years to come. Your support and involvement with the positive movement forward of our Association are greatly needed and appreciated.
Lonny T. Powell
Chief Executive Officer & EVP
“Blinkers-Off”…A Few Observations from My First 90 Days
Dear Valued FTBOA Members & Friends:
As I near my almost first three months on the job as your new CEO of FTBOA, I am encouraged with what I see and hear and am convinced that, though there is much work to do and priorities to identify and address, our accomplished thoroughbreds, dedicated members (our greatest resource today), hard working staff and resilient industry appear to have only one direction to go from here, and that is upwards.
As is typical with the thoroughbred breeding, owning and racing scene at major pari-mutuel jurisdictions across the country, behind or beside virtually every “challenge” we face is an “opportunity”. It is how we both as individuals and collectively as an association take on such challenges while availing ourselves to the opportunities also at hand that ultimately define us.
Along these lines, we continue to evaluate and investigate how we can best modernize and enhance the office, operations, brand and programs of the FTBOA. Probably the greatest short-term challenge we face, and one certainly not limited to just our situation, is that of being extremely short-staffed and under resourced. One of our most exciting initiatives designed to help us in this area is our recent creation of a number of special member advisory committees designed to provide us with broad-based feedback as well as volunteer efforts to assist and support staff via our valued membership. Of particular note is a “Governance Committee” chaired by Phil which will look at ways to improve upon our current Board of Directors election process. Other committees include an “Outreach” Committee chaired by Bonnie Heath and charged with bringing the local horse and business/tourism communities closer together. Another committee “Communications” chaired by Roy Lerman will initially investigate ideas that will lead to enhanced and more timely communications between our association and its membership through the expanded use of print and electronic communications including “social media” as well as a reinvigorated website.
On the legislative front, though we remained ever-vigilant in Tallahassee, the predominate subject during the recently concluded session, aside from the budget and redistricting, pretty much was the “destination casino resorts” push by casino giants and local backers. As we anticipated, this controversial and polarizing topic literally “sucked all of the political oxygen from the room” which ultimately prevented any pari-mutuel and/or gaming legislation from moving forward. Nonetheless, our association and our very solid and credible lobbyist Matt Bryan, has worked hard to position ourselves within the debate so as to proactively insert ourselves directly into the conversation with the potential casino permit holders.
The Gretna pari-mutuel barrel racing shameful debacle continues to cast its ugly shadow over the future of racing and can in no way be supported by anyone who seriously cares about the thoroughbred (or Quarter Horse) industry. It must be noted that, amazingly, the efforts of time and resources by FTBOA and FHBPA have represented the only thoroughbred industry organized opposition to pari-mutuel barrel racing. The silence of other thoroughbred racing stakeholders on this has been “deafening”. As stakeholders with much invested, we cannot let our membership be further harmed by seeing barrel racing swapped for traditional pari-mutuel racing at existing and potential future racinos as such a move would be devastating to all Florida horse breeders and owners. Furthermore, Gretna’s move to circumvent legitimate horsemen association approval should frighten us all as the consequences would be disastrous.
The last observation I would like to make is probably one of the most difficult areas to address, though in my mind perhaps most important – excessive negative rhetoric for the sake of being negative combined with what seems to be an almost constant passing along of incorrect or partially flawed information as either news or fact within our industry, membership and community. Though some level of disinformation is common throughout all businesses – it seems to really find a perch on which to roost in our industry from coast to coast. I will say however, here in Florida I think sometimes the tone and level of such “noise” takes on excessive levels to the point of potential distraction from the matters that are really important. It is so easy to tear down versus build – to be loose with the facts versus taking the time to study, understand and visibly own them while considering sources, motivations, knowledge and/or credibility. We hope our future and current enhanced communications efforts along with my accessibility and willingness to meet with people “eyeball-to-eyeball” (anonymous communications and rants never receive consideration) will help greatly stem the tide of incorrect perception sometimes driven by an unintentional or intentional absence of factual information. One of my goals is to assist us in moving away from the classic industry pitfalls and distractions often facilitated by misguided or rogue “circular firing squads” all charged with the knee-jerk orders of “Ready..Shoot…Aim!”
It has been a very active first 90 days – far beyond what words can portray or what the imagination could foresee. Much of the work to date has been both challenging and consuming. Many strategic and logistical chess pieces must be and are being moved around the game-board in order to achieve the level of reorganization and revitalization within the entire FTBOA that I and the Board seek. One thing for sure, so far I really like what I see in terms of opportunity for us to change and evolve in a positive and proactive fashion. Here in wonderful Florida we have many things going for us that most do not have. In our widely coveted Ocala and Marion County we have the single greatest location to breed, grow, sell, train and race horses in the country. Our task is to keep it that way, turn others on to it, and work together in the same direction in order to create a true collective economic and awareness rising tide for our Florida thoroughbred industry that will “lift all of our thoroughbred boats”. I look forward to “rowing” with you.
Lonny T. Powell
Chief Executive Officer & Executive Vice President
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the FTBOA Board of Directors for selecting me to serve the membership as your new CEO. I consider it to be a high honor to represent such a significant organization and product. As many of you know, I literally hit the ground running upon my long-awaited arrival in Florida and Ocala earlier this month. In a little less than two weeks I have driven the entire length of the state twice in order to attend meetings and make presentations from Ft. Lauderdale to Tallahassee. I have had very productive discussions with the FHBPA, Calder, Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, OBS, legislators and chaplains while also attending and participating in my first official FTBOA Board and Member meetings.
I continue to be impressed by the resilient dedication of our membership and their significant level of investment of time and treasure, as well as desire to see the FTBOA and our homegrown Thoroughbreds rise to new and even more successful heights.
Like any member organization, our Association has had to overcome certain distractions and issues of the past. The important thing is that we don’t shy away from or get distracted or even paralyzed by such challenges. Instead, we take them on in as timely and transparent of a manner as possible and then move ahead. That is what vibrant and responsive membership-driven associations do.
As we move forward in the pursuit of better things for our members and industry, let us commit to building a strong, member-supported association that is relevant, focused, compassionate, strategic and proactive. Let each and every one of us commit to building up our Association, our membership, horses and image versus tearing the very fabric of our people and industry apart. Let us “construct” versus “destruct” on a go-forward basis pulling together in the same direction. Let us come together in order to make good things happen.
I have enjoyed getting a chance to meet many of you and will continue reaching out to hear your views. I look forward to working with you toward these ends. Thank you for inviting me to join you and for the very warm and welcoming reception you have given me! I love the Ocala area and am very proud to now call myself a “Floridian.” As someone who has spent literally every day of my life and career in this great industry, I thank you for sharing the passion to see it evolve, grow and succeed.
Lonny T. Powell
CEO & Executive Vice President