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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Commission Adopts Update To Claiming Regulations

The Maryland Racing Commission March 22 adopted a new provision to claiming regulations that prohibit a trainer who also has an owner’s license from claiming a horse as an owner while he or she is under suspension.

The new language stemmed from discussions with the MTHA and was endorsed by the MRC at a meeting last year. MRC Executive Director Mike Hopkins said the regulation must now be sent to and published in the Maryland Register, and that it would take effect by May 1.

Non-Stakes Trainer Bonus Added To BES, Preakness Programs

The Maryland Jockey Club has added a $50,000 bonus for trainers who accumulate the most points in all non-stakes on May 18 (Black-Eyed Susan Day) and May 19 (Preakness Day) at Pimlico Race Course.

This is in addition to the $100,000 trainer bonus for points accrued in 15 stakes on those two days. MJC officials said the non-stakes bonus program is designed to help boost field size as well as reward local trainers who support overnight races.

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Noah Grove Wins Gold At PyeongChang Paralympics

Eighteen-year-old Noah Grove, who had his left leg amputated below the knee when he was only 5 years old, has excelled as a sled hockey player, and his skills and dedication paid off in South Korea when he and other Team USA members captured the gold medal in the Winter Paralympic Games in March.

Grove, of Frederick, Md., is the son of Chris Grove, who won more than 680 races as a trainer based in Maryland. Team USA tied the sled hockey game with only 35 seconds in regulation and then scored a goal in sudden death to defeat the Canadian team.

Grove played in all five games with three goals and three assists.

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