Horsemen invited to webinar on biometric tracking technology

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association is hosting a webinar Wednesday, Jan. 26, on the StrideSAFE technology that has been in use at New York Racing Association track since the summer of 2021.

The webinar will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

StrideSafe, which was discussed during a November 2021 meeting of participants in the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities, is a wearable biometric technology that can detect subtle high-speed gait changes before serious injury occurs. The device is placed in saddle cloths and be used during racing and training.

Among the scheduled panelists are Dr. Scott Palmer, Equine Medical Director for the New York State Racing Commission; Dr. David Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of StrideSAFE; Alan Foreman, CEO of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association; Glen Kozak, NYRA Senior Vice President of Operations and Capital Projects; and NYTHA President Joe Applebaum. During the Mid-Atlantic meeting, Palmer said the technology can identify "event triggers" that may otherwise be missed in routine veterinary exams.

Participants must register in advance at this link: StrideSAFE webinar

There will be a question-and-answer session following the presentation. An overview of StrideSAFE and how NYRA is using the technology is available here.

Casino revenue, purse contribution strong in 2021

After the second-highest revenue month in the history of casino gambling in Maryland, the amount generated for the Purse Dedication Account from video lottery terminals totaled $76.08 million in 2021, almost $10 million more than 2019 when the casinos were fully operational.

Maryland Lottery and Gaming Corp. in early January reported $172.90 million in overall gaming revenue in December, up 44.9% from December 2020, when the six casinos were operating under capacity restrictions because of COVID-19. The December number topped the $172.4 million in gaming revenue generated in May 2021 and trailed only the July 2021 figure of $180.1 million, according to the statistics.

In December 2021, the PDA earned $6.45 million, up 53.8% from $4.24 million in December 2020 and an increase of 19.7% from $5.46 million in 2019. Of the $6.45 million, 80% ($5.16 million) goes to Thoroughbred purses.

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MTHA approves Purse Bonus program, addition of days and races

In order to provide funds for owners and trainers in the wake of the recent cancellations of live racing programs, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Board of Directors January 12 approved a 20% Purse Bonus on all overnight races through February 27 at Laurel Park.

In addition, the Maryland Jockey Club, during a meeting with the MTHA, agreed to add three Thursdays in February to the live racing calendar and said it will card at least 10 races a day in January and February when possible.

First post time has been moved to 12:10 p.m. in January to accommodate extra races.

Live racing at Laurel Park is scheduled to resume Sunday, January 16, after the cancellation of six racing programs due to a project that involves recomposition of the cushion material on the dirt track. Racing also is scheduled for Monday, January 17. Six stakes planned for Saturday, January 22, will move to Saturday, January 29.

A proposal to add live racing programs on Tuesday, January 18, and Wednesday, January 19, isn't feasible because of unavailable MRC personnel and required veterinarians. It was one of several suggestions made during an online community meeting held January 11 to provide an update on the racing surface project and solicit feedback from horsemen.

The complete racing schedule under the updated calendar is as follows: Jan. 16-17; Jan. 20-23; Jan. 27-30; Feb. 3-6; Feb. 10-13; Feb. 18-21; and Feb. 24-27 for a total of 26 days.

Limited training resumes at Laurel; surface project progressing

Limited training resumed Tuesday, Jan. 11, at Laurel Park, and during an online community meeting held by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association later in the day officials indicated they are hopeful live racing can resume Sunday, Jan. 16—weather permitting.

Mike Rogers, an executive with The Stronach Group (1/ST Racing) who serves as Acting President of the Maryland Jockey Club, said “great progress” was made Jan. 10 on the accelerated plan to add another 2,000 tons of coarse sand to the cushion on the dirt track. Previously, about 2,000 tons had been worked into the surface as part of a winterization project that was stalled by a storm that dropped eight inches of snow on the Laurel area.

“If we stay on this path, it looks like we would be in a position to take entries Thursday for Sunday, but there is also a weather system that could potentially hit us this weekend,” Rogers said. “We’re willing to do it, or we could take a conservative approach and cancel racing Sunday and Monday (Jan. 17). We want to make sure the horsemen are comfortable with that as well.”

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Dr. Patty Hogan To Host Aftercare Seminar

Dr. Patty Hogan, a New Jersey-based equine surgeon who regularly works with retired racehorses and assists various aftercare programs in the Mid-Atlantic region, will host an upcoming seminar titled, “Avoiding the One Last Race Syndrome—Where are we now and what is your role as an owner or trainer?”

The program, sponsored by Beyond The Wire, will be held Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 11 a.m. More information will be released soon as to whether the event will be held in-person in the Conference Center in the Laurel Park grandstand or only via Zoom becuase of Covid-19 concerns.

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Maryland-Based Horses Sweep MATCH Titles

When the majority of partners in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH Series) decided in late 2020 not to hold the series for a second straight year because of lingering COVID-19 uncertainty, the MTHA and MJC began discussions to consider a scaled-down event that would use only stakes in Maryland. The idea was to bridge the gap until 2022.

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