Maryland Jockey Club Introduces New Track Superintendent

Maryland native Chris Bosley has spent the better part of the last two weeks getting acclimated in his new job as track superintendent for Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, but he said he already has seen progress.

Bosley, 28, now oversees all track maintenance crews at both racetracks. He previously served as track superintendent for the Maryland State Fair at Timonium and its related May 2-year-olds in training sale for five years.

“Chris is in charge of the dirt surfaces at Laurel and Pimlico and will report directly to me,” Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said.

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The Maryland Jockey Club has announced changes in the training schedule effective April 16.

Training hours will remain 5:30-10:30 a.m. each day, but at Laurel Park, there will be two renovation breaks—from 7:30-8 a.m. and 9-9:30 a.m. Gate schooling will be available from 7-7:30 a.m. and 9:30-10 a.m.

Everyone is asked to clear the track on time to facilitate the new schedule at Laurel.

The same schedule was announced for Pimlico Race Course as well, but the MJC later said training hours at Pimlico will stay the same with only one renovation break at the usual time.

Sports Betting Legislation and Where It Stands

As the pari-mutuel industry prepares for a potential gambling environment that includes legalized sports betting, regulation and tax rates will be of the utmost importance, according to an official with William Hill, a British bookmaking firm with United States-based businesses.

Joe Asher, chief executive officer of William Hill US, was among the panelists for a sports betting discussion held March 14 at the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association winter convention. William Hill a few years ago partnered with Monmouth Park in anticipation of legal sports betting becoming a reality in New Jersey—and perhaps the entire country.

An upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 could determine the fate of sports betting beyond four grandfathered states. The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which leases and operates Monmouth through an entity called Darby Development, was at the forefront of the push for sports betting in New Jersey.

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Laurel Barns Re-Numbered, New Manure Bins Coming

Maryland Jockey Club, as part of a backstretch safety plan, has re-numbered the barns at Laurel Park and is currently attaching signage to each one.

In addition, dormitories will now carry letter designations, according to a new map of the stable area. They run from “a” and “b”—the two Laurel Commons dorms—to “i” near the track kitchen.

Most barns have new numbers. The barns along Racetrack Road near the top of the stretch remain the same, starting with No. 1. The system progresses all the way to the three newer “tent” barns (Nos. 31, 32 and 33) at the end of the backstretch. The Receiving Barn is No. 13 and the Detention Barn is No. 14. View new map here.

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Jockey Injury Compensation, Compact Bills Unanimously Pass Both Houses Of Maryland General Assembly

Legislation that allows the Maryland Jockey Injury Compensation Fund to cover licensed jockeys during training hours at a racetrack or training facility licensed by the Maryland Racing Commission has passed both the Senate and House of Delegates and awaits the signature of Gov. Larry Hogan.

The bill passed the Senate on a 46-0 vote April 3, and previously cleared the House on a 136-0 vote. It’s the second racing-related bill to pass both houses unanimously during the 2018 General Assembly; the first one authorizes Maryland to launch and offer the Interstate Anti-Doping and Drug-Testing Compact.

The Maryland Jockey Injury Compensation Fund is financially supported by a contribution from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and a $100 fee paid by owners and trainers each year when they are licensed. This year’s policy, approved by the racing commission, will cost roughly $900,000, MRC Executive Mike Hopkins said.

Hopkins noted that exercise riders aren’t covered under the fund but rather by workers’ compensation policies paid for by trainers. The legislation states that jockeys will be covered during training hours “if the principal earnings of the jockey are based on money earned as a jockey during live racing and not as an exercise rider.”

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Congress Passes Bill That Could Nearly Double Available H-2B Visas

Provisions that could double the number of H-2B visas were included in an omnibus spending bill approved by Congress early in the morning of March 23 and signed by President Trump later that day, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said.

The language in the budget bill grants the U.S. Department of Homeland Security the authority to increase the cap on H-2B visas, which are a critical component of the Thoroughbred industry’s foreign temporary workforce. The Homeland Security Secretary would make the determination after discussions with the U.S. Department of Labor. Under language in the omnibus bill, the total number of H-2B visa workers that would be permitted to enter the U.S. in fiscal 2018 would be capped at 129,547, the NTRA said. There isn’t much time to capitalize on it, however, as fiscal 2018 ends Sept. 30.

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