National Harbor OTB facility approved by Maryland Racing Commission

Maryland’s off-track betting network will expand Sept. 12 when wagering on horse races is offered at the MGM National Harbor Casino just south of Washington, D.C.

The Maryland Racing Commission approved an application for the facility after a hearing the evening of Sept. 11 at Rosecroft Raceway, which is located about four miles from the casino. Work on the betting area—on the second floor as part of an expansion—has been ongoing for months.

After taking comments from members of the local community, the MRC went into executive session to deliberate. The approval for operation of the OTB parlor is through Dec. 31, 2018, though that could be extended through September of 2019 should the Maryland Jockey Club reach agreement on a new contract with the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association and Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association. The current one expires at the end of this year.

Operators of OTB facilities must get MRC approval each year.

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Groom Elite 101 Program Approaching Quickly

There is still time to sign up for the Groom Elite 101 program that will begin Sept. 17 and run through Oct. 11 at Laurel Park.

As of late August, almost 20 people had signed up, and the limit for the class is 24. However, given the chance of defections, those interested in the program are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.

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Two New OTB Facilities Set for Public Hearings

Plans and schedules have firmed up for two additional off-track betting facilities in Maryland that combined are projected to generate more than $1 million a year for the Thoroughbred purse account.

The Maryland Racing Commission Sept. 11 will hold a hearing regarding an OTB facility at MGM National Harbor Casino that has been in the works for months. Another hearing will be held Sept. 20 on plans to put a betting parlor in a hotel just off Interstate 270 in Frederick.

Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said the National Harbor OTB outlet could open as soon as Sept. 12. The casino is located about three miles from Rosecroft Raceway, the MJC-owned harness track that also serves as a year-round simulcast facility.

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MTHA Board Supports Participation in Biomarker Study

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association has given its support to a research project designed to measure multiple equine inflammatory and anti-inflammatory biomarkers.

Dr. David Horohov at the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky laboratory has developed a method by which a single blood sample can be used to measure the biomarkers. The study thus far has involved Thoroughbred racehorses, and published results have indicated the blood testing could be useful in determining a horse’s fitness or risk of injury, according to a University of Kentucky memorandum.

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Beyond The Wire Aftercare Program Hits the 100 Mark

Beyond The Wire, Maryland’s Thoroughbred aftercare program, recently accepted its 100th horse, a major milestone for the program that was launched in May 2018.

Jessica Hammond, who administers Beyond The Wire and works closely with its Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited partner farms, said the program has become well-established in Maryland racing and also is viewed as a model for other states or racetracks looking to provide aftercare services.

“Beyond The Wire has been up and running for 15 months, and I’m very excited to see many owners and trainers take advantage of the program,” Hammond said.

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