Aguirre on his way to accomplishing goals in the racing business

After years of helping with the family’s horses, exercise riding for other trainers and serving as an assistant trainer in Maryland, 24-year-old Anthony “T.J” Aguirre Jr. got his trainer’s license July 7 and had his first starter less than two weeks later.

On Aug. 15 he quickly achieved a milestone—a 2-year-old he acquired as a yearling after the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic September sale made his first start, and Aguirre was particularly proud because the colt, a Maryland-bred named Benny Havens, is also the first horse he purchased at auction and the first he broke on his own.

“I bought him privately for $1,500,” Aguirre said. “He was went through the ring and wasn’t sold. I don’t what happened. The mare is nine-for-nine with her racing foals and he’s a beautiful horse. The whole purpose was to get a Maryland-bred. I train in Maryland and I want to stay in Maryland. That was the goal.

“I’ve been with him every day. I haven’t spent a day away from him because he was at my mom’s farm.”

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September 2019 Newsletter Available

newsletter2019 9The September 2019 edition of the Horsemen's Newsletter is now online and available for download. To view this edition click herearrow

The Horsemen's Newsletter is published monthly by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and is mailed to licensed owners and trainers in the state of Maryland.



The Maryland Thoroughbred Industry Scholarship Fund (MTISF) committee has selected 16 recipients to receive scholarships this year, highlighted by the Lucy Acton Memorial Scholarship and the Eddie McMullen Memorial Scholarship. 

Maryland Thoroughbred Industry Scholarship Fund was founded more than 30 years ago, and managed until recently, by the Maryland Racing Media Association (MRMA).  Today the MTISF is a joint venture with MRMA and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, the Maryland Jockey Club.The program is designed to provide meaningful financial assistance to currently enrolled students who are active in the Maryland Thoroughbred industry. 

To be eligible, applicants had to be enrolled at a college or university for the upcoming fall semester and had to have worked in Maryland’s Thoroughbred industry. 

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MTHA’s Lillis to receive Godolphin TIEA Community Award

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association congratulates Bobby Lillis, its long-time Benevolence Administrator, for being selected the winner of the 2019 Godolphin Thoroughbred Industry Employee Community Award.

The Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards recognize and reward the outstanding talent, diligence and commitment of farm and racing stable staff. The Community Award is for those who have made outstanding contributions to the industry and who contribute to the greater good of the sport.

Lillis and the other winners will receive their awards at the Godolphin TIEA luncheon Oct. 11 at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.

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Dirt, turf course work planned for Laurel during downtime

The Maryland Jockey Club will use the roughly three weeks of downtime during the Maryland State Fair at Timonium meet to work on the turf course and main track at Laurel Park in advance of the fall meet that begins Sept. 6.

The work on the dirt track has led to a revised training schedule, the MJC said. On Monday, Aug. 26, training will be available from 5:30-10 a.m. with one break from 7:30-8 a.m. The main track will be closed Tuesday, Aug. 27 through Thursday, Aug. 29.

MJC Track Superintendent Chris Bosley said a crew will be working on a pre-existing spot by the 11/16 pole.

“We’ll be using the new (patch) material we tried at Pimlico, and that spot so far couldn’t be any better,” Bosley said. “We’re getting a jump on a few things during this much-needed break.”

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The art and science of racetrack surface maintenance

Chris Bosley was named dirt track superintendent for the Maryland Jockey Club in the spring of 2018, and for the last year and a half he has been focused on consistency and safety.

It’s a critical position—and one that’s frequently under a microscope. It’s also a job heavily dependent on weather and having the necessary resources and latest research at your disposal.

Bosley regularly attends Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors meetings to provide updates on surface maintenance and to field comments and questions. He acknowledges it’s difficult to satisfy everyone, but he welcomes feedback with the ultimate goal of providing the best and safest surface possible.

“Everyone needs to keep communicating,” Bosley said. “If something happens or needs to be done, don’t think we’re not going to care about it or it doesn’t bother us. All the guys (on the track crew) care about the racetrack as much as I do.

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