MJC issues MD Million Day protocols for owners, trainers

The Maryland Jockey Club has issued its COVID-19 protocols and operational footprint for Maryland Million Day, Saturday, Oct. 24, at Laurel Park.

First post time for the 12-race program is 11:25 p.m. The card will feature eight stakes and four Maryland-restricted starter handicaps. The feature of the day is the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic.

The following information is geared toward owners, trainers and other racing participants:

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Sports betting referendum on Nov. 4 Maryland election ballot

The question of a commercial gaming expansion—specifically sports betting—is one of a number of measures on the ballot statewide for the Nov. 4 general election in Maryland.

Both the state Senate and House of Delegates worked on sports betting bills during the 2020 General Assembly session, and the Senate approved its version by a 47-0 vote. The House, however, did not move forward given some differences, and the result was a stripped-down measure that simply put sports betting on the ballot for a statewide referendum. The state’s share of revenue will be earmarked for education.

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association supports the ballot measure, as do other industry organizations that lobbied for sports betting.

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Purse Release Program will become automatic Nov. 1

Several years ago the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, in cooperation with the Maryland Jockey Club, instituted an Expedited Purse Release Program to allow for our owners to get purses earned on an expedited basis and before drug test results had been returned to the Maryland Racing Commission by the commission’s testing laboratory.

The program required that interested owners sign an agreement that obligated the owner to repay and affected purse money paid that became the subject of a positive drug test.

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Laurel Park to suspend training two to three days for surface repairs

Training at Laurel Park will be suspended for two or perhaps three days to accommodate repairs on the base in two locations on the main track.

Maryland Jockey Club Track Superintendent Chris Bosley said the work is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 26, and Tuesday, Oct. 27. If necessary, the project could extend through Wednesday, Oct. 28. Bosley said the spots in question are located near the 5/8ths pole and the 11/16ths pole.

“The spots are where we made repair patches (this summer),” Bosley said. “It’s an issue with the material. Heading into the winter, we don’t like the way it’s looking, so we’ll take out all the material and replace it. The track is still safe but our confidence level (in those two areas) isn’t high for the winter.”

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MJC announces reopening protocols for Laurel Park

Laurel Park will reopen Thursday, Oct. 15, to a limited number of patrons after having received the go-ahead from Anne Arundel County government.
 
The county’s approval came after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a revised executive order allowing racetracks to accommodate up to 250 “spectators,” a number that doesn’t include the licensed personnel who have had access in order to conduct live racing programs or licensed owners. Laurel Park reopened for racing May 30 after a two-and-a-half-month shutdown because of COVID-19 restrictions, and soon after permitted licensed owners to view races from the apron.
 
In a letter to the Anne Arundel County Health Department, MJC President Sal Sinatra noted that Laurel and Pimlico Race Course have conducted live racing “under strict protocols to ensure the safety of all participants in racing—jockeys, stewards, owners, trainers, horsemen, backstretch workers, support staff and others” with success. The MJC also submitted a list of protocols for the return of patrons to Laurel.
 
The grandstand entrance at Laurel Park, which is equipped with a thermal camera for temperature screening, will be the primary entrance for employees, patrons and owners each day. The Horsemen’s entrance near the Racing Office and paddock will be staffed only on live racing days beginning at 8 a.m. for trainers, jockeys and backstretch personnel that require access.

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COVID-19 testing required for new racing outfits in Maryland

New racing outfits that were granted stall space at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in the recent application process will be required to represent to the Racing Office negative COVID-19 tests within 72 hours of shipping to the tracks. It pertains to the trainer and all staff that will be on the grounds.

The test results will be compiled by Maryland Jockey Club Racing Secretary Jillian Tullock, who will let security staff and Stall Superintendent Terry Overmeier know when the personnel are able to ship in.

Out-of-town jockeys who ship in to Laurel will still need to present a 72-hour test, but if they return to their home track to race and exercise horses, they will need to get another 72-hour test before they return to Maryland.

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