Who We Are
In 2018, Treasure Valley Racing filed the Save Idaho Horse Racing ballot initiative and petition. The initiative is supported by thousands of individuals across Idaho, including those directly and indirectly affected by the loss of the horse racing industry: fans, breeders, equine veterinarians, and more.
How we got to a ballot initiative
Big casino interests and their lobbyists got together with politicians in 2015 to shut down the horse racing industry by repealing the law permitting Historical Horse Racing terminals, which had been proven in Idaho as a sustainable and independent economic support for live horse racing. After repeatedly being rebuffed the Idaho Legislature, Treasure Valley Racing set out to pursue a ballot initiative in early 2018. It’s time to let the people decide.
- 2011: Treasure Valley Racing and the Green Group sign a joint lease with Ada County to operate Les Bois Park in Boise.
- 2012-August: Treasure Valley Racing (TVR) buys out the Green Group to become sole operators of Les Bois Park.
- 2013: The Idaho Legislature authorizes the use of pari-mutuel Historical Horse Racing (HHR) terminals, which allow patrons to research, bet on, and watch previously run but non-identifiable races. Legislation authorizing HHR terminals was later signed by Gov. Butch Otter.
HHR terminals become operational at Les Bois Park. The impact on horse racing and other beneficiaries was immediate. For example:
- Purse money for the 31-day race season at Les Bois totaled $2.3 million, up from $1.4 million in 2013.
- Average purse topped $8,200, up from $5,100 the previous year.
- Higher purses elevate the level of competition for live racing. It’s no secret that the top breeders, trainers and jockeys make decisions to compete based on the prize money at stake. Higher purses simply mean better live racing.
- Distribution of HHR revenue to the Idaho Racing Commission, public schools, breeders and Horse Council Youth Fund totaled nearly $600,000. Of that, the Public School Income Fund received nearly $194,000 from HHR terminals at Les Bois Park.
Anti-gaming groups and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe lobbied to get lawmakers in the Idaho House and Senate to repeal HHR terminals. Gov. Otter vetoed the repeal, but the timeliness of his veto was challenged in the courts. Ultimately, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld the Legislature’s repeal.
Following the Idaho Supreme Court decision, TVR shuts down HHR terminals at Les Bois Park. Other HHR terminals in use in Post Falls and Idaho Falls also go dark.
- The 2015 summer racing season was the last hosted by TVR at Les Bois Park.
- In 9 months of operation, HHR terminals at Les Bois Park generated more than $443,000 for the Public School Income Fund.
2016 & 2017
TVR continues to work with state lawmakers to find solutions to reauthorize HHR terminals and resume live racing at Les Bois.
Poised to pursue other options, TVR files the Save Idaho Horse Racing ballot initiative and petition with the Office of the Secretary of State. Governor Otter and First Lady Lori Otter are the first to sign their names on the petition.
The Save Idaho Horse Racing campaign begins collecting signatures from voters in every Idaho county in an effort to qualify for the November ballot.
The SIHR campaign reaches the signature-gathering deadline and turns in petitions with more than 114,800 signatures from each of the state’s 44 counties.
The campaign team and volunteers deliver petitions that have been validated by county clerks to the Office of the Secretary of State, after the counties confirmed that the campaign has well in excess of the 56,192 signatures required to qualify.
The Secretary of State determines that Save Idaho Horse Racing has qualified for the ballot by clearing thresholds for total valid signatures and the geographical requirement of 6 percent of registered voters in 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts. The Secretary of State designates the initiative as Proposition 1.
Facts About Horse Racing
Supporters of Idaho’s horse racing industry are putting a simple question to voters in November: Should Idaho allow the limited use of historic horse racing terminals to revive Idaho’s horse racing industry? Learn more about Prop 1, what it’s about, and what it does here.
8 Live Race Days
Historical Horse Racing (HHR) terminals, once approved by the Idaho Racing Commission and local elected officials, are only allowed at tracks that have 8 or more live race days a year, or at Idaho’s only track that provides simulcast racing.
Public Schools, 4-H, FFA
A portion of the revenue from the HHR terminals goes directly to the Historical Youth Racing Fund which funds 4-H and FFA programs across the state. Revenue also goes directly to the Public School Income Fund, supporting Idaho’s youth inside and out of the classroom.
Independent & Accountable
There are multiple, independent, governing bodies that ensure the money is going where it is supposed to. For example, the Idaho Racing Commission is a self-funded agency, no taxpayer money goes to fund their work, but they are appointed by the governor and held to a strict standard.
This ballot initiative will bring back and create hundreds of good-paying jobs. A Boise State University study projected that horse racing would contribute $50 million in payroll, goods, and services in 2015.
90% of bets
Like wagering on live horse racing, HHR is a form of pari-mutuel betting, whereby bettors place wagers that are pooled with other bettors (as opposed to casino games, where bettors wager against “the house.”) At least 90% of all wagers are returned to bettors.
Already allow some form of gaming to supplement live horse racing and enable the industry to survive without government support.