Commission Hears About Report on Maryland Purse Payouts

The Maryland Racing Commission March 23 received a report from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association that shows owners, trainers and breeders with ties to Maryland took home the bulk of the more than $50 million in purse money paid at the state’s Thoroughbred tracks in 2016.

The subject was raised by MRC member Konrad Wayson, who said he had heard a large amount of purse money was going to out-of-state interests. Wayson then cited the report, which indicates 78.2% of the $50,085,471 in purse earnings was paid to horses with Maryland connections.

Maryland connections for the purse report were defined as owners, breeders and trainers, either separately or in combination.

“We obtained a detailed report from the Jockey Club on every starter in Maryland last year and then analyzed this data,” MTHA Executive Director David Richardson said. “At least now we have actual data instead of just backstretch rumor. Our case to (lawmakers) in Annapolis is that their investment in horse racing is paying off for Maryland and our numbers support this.”

Of the $40,293,471 in purses paid in overnight races at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and the Maryland State Fair at Timonium, 86.4% went to horses with Maryland connections. Of the $9,792,000 paid in stakes earnings, horses with a Maryland connection earned 44% ($4,312,570)—for 52% if the Preakness Stakes isn’t factored in the equation.

The Thoroughbred purse account provided $6,251,200 of the total stakes earnings. The Preakness purse is split 50-50 between the MJC and horsemen.

“If you look at the money that went out of town, the vast majority was paid on Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Stakes days,” said trainer Katy Voss, an MTHA board member. "We need to attract horses from out of state, and we still made more (revenue for purses). We need to give our fans a good experience. There has to be a balance.”

According to the report, stakes purses on the MJC’s two biggest racing days of the year totaled $2,414,750, but total revenue for the purse account exceeded $4 million for Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Stakes days.

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