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.

MD casino revenue increases despite limited capacity at facilities

Despite operating at up to 50% capacity because of COVID-19 restrictions, Maryland’s six casinos registered a 1% increase in gaming revenue in September compared with the same month in 2019, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

Total revenue for the month from video lottery terminals and table games was $143.71 million, up from $142.22 million last September when the facilities were fully operational. Hollywood Casino at Perryville showed a 12.6% increase in revenue year over year, followed by Rocky Gap Casino and Resort (5.2%), Live! Casino (3%) and Casino at Ocean Downs (3%).

The Purse Dedication Account, which gets 6% of VLT revenue from five casinos and 2.5% from Rocky Gap, received $5.49 million in September 2020. The 80% share for Thoroughbred racing was $4.39 million. Almost $900,000 was generated for the Racetrack Facilities Renewal Account, which receives 1% of VLT revenue at five casinos.

For the first three months of fiscal 2021, the PDA has earned $16.30 million, not far off the $16.90 million recorded for July through September to begin fiscal 2020.

Medstar Health’s Mobile Unit To Visit MTHA’s Health Fair

The MedStar Health Mobile Health Center, which was introduced in early September to deliver primary care to vulnerable communities, will visit the Oct. 12 MTHA Health Fair at Laurel Park. This year’s Health Fair will be held adjacent the Laurel Recreation Room from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. under a tent because of COVID-19 health protocols. For those based at Pimlico Race Course who wish to attend, a free shuttle will leave Pimlico at 11 a.m. Services this year include flu shots, bloodwork (comprehensive metabolic panels, or CMPs), and blood pressure screenings. The services will be provided by MedStar Sports Medicine, which staffs the Horsemen’s Health System, and Adventist HealthCare LifeWork Strategies. Please note that 10-hour fasting is required for cholesterol tests. All bloodwork results are confidential and will be sent to the address that you provide. Free hamburgers and hot dogs will provided.

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