FEBRUARY 23, 2008


A quorum being present, the meeting of the American Mule Racing Association was called to order at 9:01 a.m., February 23, 2008, by President Steve DeMarta at Harrah’s Hotel/Casino in Reno, Nevada.

The following board members were in attendance:  Steve DeMarta, Roger Downey, Bert Johnson, Tom Krahelski, Mary McPherson.   Absent was Tony Winckowski.  Thirty-eight members and guests were in attendance.  The list of members and guests is attached hereto and made a part of the minutes hereof.

There was an introduction of the Board of Directors and the general membership and guests.

The minutes of the February 24, 2007, meeting held in Reno, Nevada, had been published in the newsletter and Association handbook.  Upon motion and second by Jim Schleimer and Jim Farley, the minutes of said meeting were unanimously approved.

The agenda was reviewed and approved.

The evening banquet arrangements were presented to the membership.

Mary McPherson, as head of the Nominations Committee, discussed the nomination procedure and gave the list of those nominated for the Board of Directors’ election.  The board members whose terms were up were Steve DeMarta and Tom Krahelski.  Tony Winckowski decided that he would not run for the Board in 2008.   Of the five people nominated for the election only one, Becky Reimers, accepted the nomination.   Upon motion by Dr. Bert Johnson and second by Don Jacklin, it was unanimously decided to accept a white ballot and Steve DeMarta, Tom Krahelski and Becky Reimers would be appointed to the Board.

Steve DeMarta gave the President’s Report.  Mr. DeMarta spoke as to the 2007 handle, which was up approximately 60%.  He encouraged the membership to enter and fill races during the summer.  Mr. DeMarta also spoke as to the number of mule races per day.

Kate Phariss as Secretary-Treasurer presented the financial recap on the year 2007 and the proposed budget for 2008.  Upon motion and second by Don Jacklin and Jim Farley, the 2008 budget was unanimously approved.

As the breed representative, Rhoda March spoke as to racing on the fairs.  She reiterated that there needs to be eight in the gate whenever possible to increase handle, thereby increasing purses.   Since Stockton’s dates have changed for 2008, there will be an overlap with Pomona.  There is a definite concern that we do not want to split the herd.  Jim Burns, as the representative from the Alameda County Fair assured the membership that beginning May 4, Pleasanton will offer free stall rent until the week after the Alameda County Fair ends.  Ms. March also spoke as to the AMRA’s group meeting with the racing secretaries.   There will be one secretary for the majority of the fair meets.  Dr. Bert Johnson reported that there were suggestions that the percentage of races should be written to include 30% conditioned plus speed index, 30% conditioned races only, 30% maiden, 3 year old, 4 year old, etc., and 10% straight speed index.  The speed index should be for the lower-end mules.  Ms. March also reported that mules will still be allowed to run without shoes.

Mr. DeMarta spoke as to the attempt to gain a sponsor for the three-year old futurity in Santa Rosa.  

Kate Phariss spoke as to the website.  To date there have been over 24,000 hits recorded.  The website has been updated and the look changed.  All Association forms are now on the site.  Speed index charts are changed after the last race of each meet.  She asked for input of information or photos. 

Kate Phariss reported on 2007 racing in California.  There were 100 mule races run in 2007 in California; northern California handle was $2,226,148; southern California handle was $2,609,845; out of state handle was $2,530,930;  purses paid were $603,290.   Estimated starter fee for 2008 is $70.  Owners received $25.04 per start for mules racing in 2007 as workers’ comp relief.  Jockeys were paid $23,280 for mule rides through the incentive program.

Don Jacklin, as head of the awards committee, spoke as to the year-end awards.  He discussed the current rules on the distance award.  The rulebook states that there must be a minimum of three long distance (greater than 440 yards) races run by a mule and that there must be at least six qualifying animals for the award to be given.  In 2007 the criteria was not met for a trophy award; however, a buckle award was approved by the Board of Directors for the leading points, distance animal.  Mr. Jacklin suggested eliminating the CalBred award as CalBred racing is no longer offered on the fairs.  Mr. Jacklin also suggested that because of the way races were now being written there be a change in the awards system.  The awards would be the following:  a World Champion Sprint Trophy, a Distance Trophy, a three-year old trophy, a four-year-old buckle,  leading mule (mule with the most accumulated points) buckle, a claiming buckle; three jockey buckles; one leading trainer buckle.  Upon motion and second by Cliff March and Jim Farley, it was unanimously approved to accept Mr. Jacklin’s proposal.

Kirk Goodrich spoke as to the race meet in Winnemucca.  He thanked the membership for supporting the meet.  Mr. Goodrich stated that all mules must have qualified works and gate okays, signed by the starter before coming to Winnemucca.   

Kate Phariss spoke as to the CalBred program.  CalBred animals earned $38,950 in 2007.   Payouts were reviewed.  All CalBred forms can be found on the website.   Ms. Phariss stated that the Board had decided that only owners listed on papers will be entitled to the breeders’ awards; i.e., money.  There will be no variance on this rule.

It was noted by President DeMarta that Jim Schleimer was resigning as the author of the newsletter.  Mr. DeMarta thanked Mr. Schleimer for all his hard work on the newsletter and stated that the Association would miss his input.  Mr. DeMarta then asked for a volunteer to take over Mr. Schleimer’s position.  At that time, there were no volunteers.

It was decided by the membership that the annual meeting would again be held in Reno.  Different venues in the city will be approached for availability and dates.

Kate Phariss spoke as to the Straight from the Gate Futurity.  It will again be held in Sacramento.  For a full gate of ten, the purse will be $9,000; nine mules in the gate, the purse will be $8,000.  For six to eight mules, the purse will be $6,000. 

Larry Schwartzlander, the representative from the California Authority of Racing Fairs spoke as to the 2007 racing year and the plans for 2008.  He discussed the Fair schedule with the change in racing dates.  He stated that purses should remain relatively the same for 2008 as in 2007.

There was open discussion on higher claiming prices for the mules. 

The 2008 racing schedule was again discussed with the change.  The schedule can be found on the AMRA  website.

The count was taken on the Futurity Mules for 2008.  At this time there are 23 mule prospects.

Kate Phariss spoke as to the new starter series being offered on the California fairs in 2008.    At each fair there will be one starter series race.  This is a race for 3-year olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less OR in a speed index race of 80 or less in 2007-2008 on the California Fairs.  Points are accumulated in each race.  The 10 mules with the highest number of points at the end of the Stockton meet will be eligible to enter the Championship race.  The purse at each of the fairs will be at least $5,000.  Fresno is seeking a sponsor for the Championship race with an estimated purse of $20,000.

Dan White, the representative from The Big Fresno Fair, spoke as to the Fair’s desire to have the membership again support the Fair.  He thanked the membership for being so supportive in the past and stated that the Fair was pleased to be hosting the starter series Championship.

Two mules have earned new world records:  Bar JF Geneo and Bar JF Hot Ticket.  Upon motion and second by Don Jacklin and Tom Krahelski, the new world record statistics were unanimously approved.

The speed index chart was discussed.  Non racing animals were deleted from the chart.   

A clarification was requested on the manner in which points were accrued for the leading mule award.  Upon motion and second by Ruth Burdick and Sandy Comontofski, it was unanimously decided that three-year old points will not count toward the leading mule award.

Roger Downey spoke as to the endurance program at Winnemucca.   Clarification was requested on the mules eligible as “green.”  Upon motion and second by Mary McPherson and Bert Johnson, it was unanimously approved that a race animal that has won money on a flat track is still eligible as a “green” mule for endurance purposes. 

Don Jacklin, as the Hall of Fame representative, stated that Coalee McGee had been nominated to the Hall of Fame and that his nomination had been approved by the Committee.  He also stated that the nomination needed general membership approval.  Upon motion and second by Jim Farley and Ruth Burdick, Coalee McGee was entered into the AMRA Hall of Fame.

Dr. Bert Johnson suggested that at future AMRA meetings, the pledge of allegiance be the first item on the agenda.

Jim Burns suggested that there be a Hall of Fame for trainers, owners and jockeys.    The matter will be discussed further at Winnemucca.

Upon motion and second by Roger Downey and Becky Reimers, there being no further business, President DeMarta adjourned the meeting at 3:10 p.m.

Kate Phariss

Secretary Treasurer