Hale Named MJC Vice President of Racing Development

Georganne Hale, who has served as Vice President of Racing and Racing Secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club, has taken the new position of Vice President of Racing Development for the organization.

Hale has been racing secretary for the MJC since 2000 and began with the MJC in 1984 as assistant racing secretary. Chris Merz, assistant racing secretary at Los Alamitos Race Course and stakes coordinator at Santa Anita Park and Del Mar, will take over as MJC racing secretary.

In her new position, Hale will oversee and coordinate revitalization of the Maryland International, formerly known as the Washington D.C. International; assist with the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH Series), which returned to the calendar this year after 16 years; lead and monitor philanthropic initiatives with Beyond The Wire, Canter for a Cause and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance; and serve as a liaison for backstretch programs.

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Match Series Revival Going Strong

Horses based or bred in Maryland have put in strong showings during the first two rounds in the five divisions that make up the 2018 MATCH Series.

As of July 1, the overall leader by points with 17 was Adam Staple and Jalin Stable’s 8-year-old Pennsylvania-bred gelding Page McKenney, who is trained at Pimlico Race Course by Mary Eppler. Oak Bluffs, an 8-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding owned and trained by Eppler, was second with 15 points.

Maryland-bred Lewisfield, who was bred and is owned by Linda Zang of Maryland and trained by Jeff Runco, was third with 12 points. They all have one thing in common: Each raced in the first two stakes in their respective division and also top the standings in their respective “state-bred” division, separate bonuses for which will be paid to breeders and certifiers from participating organizations.

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July 2018 Newsletter Available

newsletter2018 7The July 2018 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 licensed owners and trainers in the state of Maryland.


Multi-party agreement restores Maryland restricted stakes program

The Maryland Racing Commission June 28 signed off on an agreement whereby the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Horse Breeders Association will authorize financial adjustments to the Maryland Thoroughbred Purse Account and Maryland-Bred Race Fund to share the cost of about $1 million in Maryland-bred stakes annually to save the restricted stakes program.

The MHBA Board of Directors and the MRC’s Maryland Race Fund Advisory Board recently voted to eliminate the entire Maryland-bred stakes program to maintain funding for 30% breeder bonuses in place since 2015.

MRC Executive Director Mike Hopkins said there is a major structural deficit in the Maryland Bred Race Fund, which led the MTHA and MHBA to enter discussions on how to resolve it. The agreement was ratified by the MRC, under which the Maryland-Bred Race Fund falls.

The spending agreement spans July 1 of this year through the end of 2020. The groups agreed to meet at least biannually to assess calculation of the program and make any necessary adjustments, Hopkins said.

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Laurel Plans to Record Horses’ Weights Beginning June 22

After a trial run last weekend, Laurel Park on June 22 plans to begin recording the weight of each horse as it enters the paddock for the racing program.

Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said grooms are asked to go to the scale on the right when they enter the paddock and allow horses to stand on the scale for about four seconds. The weight will be recorded and shown on the Laurel simulcast graphics.

Sinatra said Equibase will begin publishing horses’ weights in its past performances for Laurel races. Recording of weights is a project of The Stronach Group, which owns Laurel.

“We’re hoping to start Friday,” Sinatra said. “The scale was calibrated (June 20). We’re just trying to bring more information to the gambler.”

Sinatra said TSG executive P.J. Campo, on a trip to Japan, noticed the racetrack weighed all the horses.

“At Laurel, we can have up to 20 horses shipping in who raced at other tracks, so I’m hopeful other tracks in the region jump in on this,” Sinatra said.

More H2B visas available; industry calls for reform

The American Horse Council June 6 reported that the United States Department of Homeland Security has published a final rule in the Federal Register that authorizes an additional 15,000 H2B visas for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

The additional visas were authorized by Congress in March of this year. Lawmakers, however, stated the cap of 66,000 could be increased to 129,500 for the current fiscal year.

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