Trainer Tim Keefe is the new president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Keefe, a Maryland native who has been on the MTHA board since 2005, has in recent years trained local stalwarts such as Eighttofasttocatch and Red’s Round Table. We set down with him on September 12 to discuss his ideas on the key issues facing the MTHA and what Maryland racing’s future looks like. In this second of two parts, we focus on the MTHA’s governance and related issues. (Part one is here).
TRB: It’s no secret that the MTHA had its internal struggles over the last few years, and one of the issues there was governance — issues like who makes decisions and how they get made, who approves which expenditures, and so forth. Where do you see the board moving in that regard?
KEEFE: I think with the new people that have been elected to the board, it’s more — I think things are going to be more open. We’re gong to try to encourage more of the board members to become more involved in some of the committees doing different things.
I think just including more board members in the decision making process is going to be huge, getting their thoughts and their input on all the different topics. We have different committees on the different topics; these committees meet, they negotiate some things together, roll out some ideas, and come back to the full board for approval. It’s just making sure everybody is in tune, knows what’s going on, knows what some of the different pros and cons of the different aspects of where we’re going, and again, voicing their opinions. Everybody’s not going to agree on everything. But they’re not supposed to.[Also] just getting some people involved in committees that maybe aren’t on the MTHA board. For instance, getting a Lori Testerman, maybe, on a committee for Pimlico. She’s not on the board, but we don’t have a lot of board members that are currently stabled at Pimlico. It would be a benefit to have somebody like that — going outside of the MTHA board to maybe fill some empty spots from people that we think would benefit the MTHA as a whole.
TRB: One process that started, then stopped, was a review of the bylaws. Will that be restarted?
KEEFE: The bylaws are going to be reviewed; the bylaws have been basically the same since the MTHA’s inception in ’87. So we’re going to take a look at those and update those to fit the more current 2014 through a committee process. That will happen sooner rather than later.
TRB: Will you reopen meetings to the membership?
KEEFE: Absolutely, yes, and encouraging people to come. In years past, when all the meetings were always open, there’d be maybe a handful of people that would come. There was no involvement; people would have gripes and complaints about stuff, but they wouldn’t come and share those. they wouldn’t come to the meetings and listen to what’s going on. They would listen to rumor or hearsay… that drives me crazy. If you’ve got a question or a complaint about something, you’ve got to come to one of the board members, you got to come to one of the meetings, you got to call. You’ve got to ask questions instead of listening to what somebody might have said on the rail in the morning.
TRB: Any final thoughts?
KEEFE: It’s an exciting time in Maryland. Racing’s great; it’s always fun to get back here after a long summer; the breeding program’s on the way up. So it’s exciting.