Big T OTB Deal Reached

After weeks of discussion, the Greater Timonium Community Council and Timonium Fairgrounds have come to an agreement that satisfies both sides in the tussle over the newly approved Off Track Betting facility at the site of the Maryland State Fair. And, now, the OTB is open for business.

“It’s done and I believe it is a win, win, win agreement for everyone,” Maryland Jockey Club vice president and general manager Sal Sinatra says. “Now the community doesn’t have to ever worry about casino gambling and the Fair can move forward with the OTB plus the community agreed to help the Fairgrounds with some zoning issues.”

And the MJC can move along the path it has layed out to make racing more accessible to those who enjoy the sport and more visible to prospective fans, as well.

Sinatra said he is now focused on a new OTB near Boonsboro. A hearing on that facility is set for April 12 and he hopes to open its doors April 13, if all goes as planned.

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Maryland Trailer Laws Clarified

When Duane Pearce, the Maryland State Highway Administration, Motor Carrier Division’s safety and compliance manager, spoke at the Maryland Farm Bureau Truck Forum in Upper Marlboro on Feb. 29, some members of the Maryland racing community came away thinking there were new rules for horse trailers.

To alleviate their concerns, Pearce agreed to a follow-up conversation to set the record straight about commercial motor vehicle safety regulations and their exceptions for agricultural operations as well as weigh and inspection facilities and nonresident tags on Maryland trailers.

He assures that although some new and changed regulations have been adopted over time, Maryland law and the Code of Federal Regulations regarding vehicles required to enter weigh and inspection facilities have not changed. The federal motor carrier safety regulations were adopted by Maryland in 1986.

“I see this happen from time-to-time,” he says. “People sometimes go away with the idea there has been a change in regulations when in fact they may simply be learning about a topic for which they had a misconception or had previously been unfamiliar with details.”

That being the case, Pearce willingly again went over the rules that concerned horsemen in an effort to clarify them.

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March 2016 Newsletter Available

newsletter2016 3The March 2016 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.


In Memory- Gretchen Mobberley

Gretchen Mobberley, a longtime Maryland horsewoman, passed away Feb. 21 after a five-month battle with cancer. She was 84.

A celebration of her life will be held Monday, March 7, at noon at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Glenwood, Md. A reception will follow.

Mobberley was a horsewoman through-and-through, says her daughter Bird, “She was more comfortable on the back of a horse than most people are on their couch.”

Mobberley was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Manassas, Va. When she and her late husband, Jack, got married in 1952, they bought a farm in Middleburg, Va., but moved to Maryland in 1963 when they bought Summer Hill Farm in Howard County and made it their permanent residence.

Over the years, the couple developed more than 20 stakes winners before Jack Mobberley’s death in 1995. Afterward, Gretchen, an owner, breeder and trainer, and their daughter Bird, also a trainer, continued the racing operation, with stalls at Laurel Park.

“My mom was something else,” Bird says wistfully. “My mom and dad were a team and after he passed away, she continued. She loved to ride. She was still galloping her horses at the track [at age 82]. After that, she still rode and we took our last ride together Sept. 15th, the day before she went into the hospital for her operation.”

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Backstretch Community Meetings Producing Results

Donna O’Connor has worked on the backstretch at Laurel Park for 15 years and she has seen a lot of things, but when the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association started holding open forums with the backstretch community last summer and then actually followed up on things that were discussed she was almost speechless.

“I’ve lived here for a long time,” O’Connor says. “There have been years when you feel you don’t matter. I’ve had a long-standing issue with people smoking in the barns. I think it is ludicrous to be smoking in a barn and I’ve tried for years to get it addressed, but nothing ever got done.

“Then, last summer, they started holding these meetings. I went and the first time I brought it up, one of the security guards stepped up and said, ‘I’m going to take care of it.’ The next day in our barn those people [smoking] got written up. That guard was a man of his word and we don’t have a smoking problem anymore.

“I feel they really listen and even if you bring up things that can’t be or haven’t been done yet, it just feels good to get it off your chest. David [MTHA Executive Director David Richardson] said ‘Tell us what you need and we will do our best to make sure it gets addressed quickly.’ I don’t think we knew what to say. Tell you what we want? We’d never heard that before.”

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Attorney General Rules OTB Legal

P9040134The Maryland Attorney General's office gave written notice to community leaders in Timonium on Tuesday that a year-round off-track-betting room within the racetrack grandstand of the state fairgrounds would not be considered an expanded form of gambling, and thus would not require statewide approval by voters in a referendum.

The letter, written by Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Rowe, is an attempt to clarify the legality of the OTB proposed by the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC), which had been scheduled to open Feb. 1.

“In the absence of such language, there is no reason to read it in,” Rowe wrote.

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