The Indiana Standardbred Association (ISA) board of directors met for their April meeting Monday, April 3. Led by President John DeLong, the meeting went over several topics leading into the 2023 racing season.
Tony Renz, Executive Director of ISA, updated the board on sponsorships for the upcoming Breeders’ Crown, slated for this fall at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. To date, more than $250,000 has been secured for sponsorships. Renz also noted the ISA and Indiana Standardbred Breed Development will be the title sponsors of the event. As a result, the ISA will have the Top of the Park room during both nights of the Breeders Crown, which will be a nice option for entertaining special guests coming out.
Adam Kallick, lobbyist for the ISA, noted “there was not a ton on the legislative front” and explained this was the last week for bills to be read in committee. He said both I-Gaming and I-Lottery could still be added in, but it was more likely to see movement on I-Lottery at this point. Once committee action closes, he said he will watch conference committee action to keep up on any additional action for topics related to horse racing.
Kallick also asked the board to get some invitations ready for some VIPs, including the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to get the Breeders Crown event on their radar in case they could attend.
The conversation then shifted to Backstretch operations where Randy Hatton noted the contracts were complete for the partnership with Community Health Network, who provides services to the ISA Health Clinic. After discussion, the board unanimously approved the contract which mirrors the agreement last season.
President DeLong noted a meeting regarding current and future improvements from the RCFAC fund. He noted a list of projects had been put together for planning as everything has to be approved in advance by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. He noted the recent projects included a new video board, a new gate for Randy Hatton, parking lot repairs, new roofs on the barns, and upcoming upgrades on the apron. Quotes have been secured by the company that created and installed the winner’s circle with images shown to the board for potential upgrades. DeLong noted the apron upgrades will span over several years with Phase 1 hoping to be completed before Breeders Crown this fall. Other potential projects will be collected for future consideration from the RCFAC fund.
Several grants were okayed by the board through their benevolence fund. Recipients of the funding included organizations associated with Standardbreds in some way, including Agape, who has one therapy horse that is a Standardbred, Moonsville Conservation Club, who is looking to repair fencing and add awards to their Standardbred show, New Vocations racehorse adoption, who provided a spreadsheet of horses from Indiana that had been retrained over the past year, and Harness Horse Youth Foundation, who will be conducting five camps in the area this year. Several fairs were also approved for funding to assist with upcoming racing sessions. The funding will assist with track maintenance, audio upgrades, and other needs. ISA Director Zach Miller noted the recent arrival of the homemade grader, created by Verlin Yoder, was delivered to the Converse fairgrounds and has already vastly improved the racing surface.
ISA Membership Chairman Emily Dever reported a total of 528 ISA members to date. She also noted ISA Night coming up Saturday, April 22 with the event set for the Clubhouse. Dever also noted pizza and drawings would be available in the paddock that night for those who were racing and could not attend the event in the grandstand.
Dever also alerted the board a recent meeting with Harrah’s Hoosier Park on promotions, and new driver headshots would be taken this year. She asked drivers and trainers to watch for information on the sessions and to make sure they signed up for new head shots. Dever noted the upcoming Golf Outing, set for Monday, May 15 at Grandview Golf Course in Anderson. Flyers will be going up soon and entries will be available through ISA Horsemen’s Representative PD Huffman.
Dever also explained to the board they were working on increasing the Social Media footprint of the ISA. She asked those who post on any of the Social Media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to use the hashtag #racelikeahoosier, which will gather all posts associated with Indiana racing for more cohesive coverage by the new Social Media company hired at the last meeting.
The ISA Board will meet for their next meeting Monday, May 8 at the ISA Offices in Greenfield.