2016 Racing Calendar Expands to 157 Days

desk calendar 2016 14Remember not so long ago when racetracks in surrounding states were expanding their schedules and increasing their purses while Maryland tracks were cutting dates and struggling to compete for horses as its purse structure stagnated?

Maryland trainer Tim Keefe does. He looks around now and sees Maryland as perhaps the only racetrack in the country that isn’t pulling back as the Maryland Jockey Club works its plan toward restoring year-round racing to the state.

“I think we are the only place in the country that’s expanding,” says Keefe, president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “For so long, we’ve always seemed to have been fighting for more dates. Now, in 2016, we have 15 more days. That’s significant because it shows we are moving in the right direction. The Stronach Group is fully committed.”

Tim Ritvo, the Stronach Groups’ chief operating officer, said he sees forward progress continuing toward the goal.

“We plan to keep going,” he says. “We want 200 days of racing . . . We’re looking to host a Breeders’ Cup one day and bring back the D.C. International. We think it is all viable if [the business] is run properly.”

The winter meet at Laurel Park will run Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, take a three-week break and then return to run March 11 through May 8.

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November 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 11The November 2015 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.


Stronach Group Derserves Kudos for Changes

12038013 10153693928188540 8310024348959838578 nThe camera panned the apron along the front stretch at Laurel Park Race Track Saturday, Oct. 17, showing a scene more familiar in old 1911 and 1940 photographs than in modern-day horse racing. But there, on the infield’s big screen was pictured a massive crowd, from one end of the stretch to the other, enjoying the sunshine and the racing – and it wasn’t a Triple Crown race, either.

The excitement and turnout coincided with the Maryland Jockey Club’s official unveiling of $14 million in improvements, $7 million of them in the clubhouse and grandstand, at Laurel during the 30th annual Jim McKay Maryland Million Day.

“It was great,” said Tim Keefe, president of the MTHA. “I’ve watched the process, going to meetings there every Tuesday. I knew what was coming. I’ve seen the slow progress through all the remodeling. But to see it all finished, all at once, it had a big effect. It was impressive.”

Maryland Million Day celebrates and honors Maryland racing – its owners, breeders, trainers and its horses – and it turned out to be its best day ever. Attendance was up 5.5 percent to 19,119; the betting handle was up 37 percent, more than $1 million, to $3.8 million.

“I heard from all the horsemen about how much they appreciated what we’ve been doing with the renovations,” track vice president and general manager Sal Sinatra said. “It’s a reflection on all of us. We all shared in a wonderful day.”

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Jockey Baboolal Passes Away at 65

Johns BaboolalJohn Hardeo Baboolal, Jockey, of North Beach, Maryland, passed away on September 11, 2015 at the age of 65. He was born in Trinidad on April 26, 1950 to the late Bhiro Baboolal and Rampiari Baboolal.

His early years were spent at the Santa Rosa Race Track where he learned to muck stalls and exercise racehorses. His dream was to become a jockey as a young boy because he loved the speed and power of the magnificent horses. He had a clock in his head and the hands to hold the reins. At the age of fifteen he obtained is jockeys license and proceeded to became one of the most talented jockeys in Trinidad before coming to the United States in December, 1967 to pursue his racing career. He helped his mom and dad financially so his brothers and sisters could pursue their college education.

He rode his first win in the United States on February 29, 1968 on a horse named “SHAMAN”. He won races for some of the top trainers in the State of Maryland: R. E. Dutrow, Tuffy Hacker, Ronald Cartright, Grover (Bud) Delp, King T. Leatherbury, Howard Wolfendale and Ernest (Chico) Green to name a few. A good gate jockey who rode regularly on the Maryland circuit but won in other states, he was implemented as an unindicted co-conspirator in what is known as the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, when jockeys conspired to hold their horses in the ninth race at Bowie Racetrack in Maryland on February 14, 1975. His license was suspended for 10 years. He continued to exercise and break racehorses on farms and continued to ride races in Canada. He returned to riding where he was the leading rider at Bowie Racetrack when it closed in 1985. He officially retired as a jockey in 1997 due to weight but continued to exercise racehorses.

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Backstretch Scholarship Award Winners Announced

Walmart Scholarship grantTwo strong, determined women, Jenny Hamilton and Kara Evans, lead the list of scholarship winners who will be recognized Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Maryland Racing Media Association’s annual Crab Feast in the Carriage Room at Laurel Park.

Hamilton, winner of the $2,500 Lucy Acton Memorial Scholarship for Service, and Evans, winner of the $2,500 Eddie McMullen Memorial Scholarship, both have shown their drive and love of horses by working full time on local Maryland farms while, at the same time, taking major course loads and putting themselves through several educational programs.

This year the MRMA, which was originally organized in 1937, is distributing a total of $20,000 to 12 applicants. All of the winners either work at Maryland racetracks or are employed on thoroughbred farms in the state. This year, the memorial awards prizes were kept the same, but in the other three levels they were all increased by about $250. This year’s awards bring the total amount of money distributed over the past 15 years to nearly $400,000.

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October 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 10The October 2015 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.



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