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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June 2018 Newsletter Available

newsletter2018 6The June 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.


Laurel surface renovation now set for May 27-29

The main track at Laurel Park will be closed for training Sunday, May 27, through Tuesday, May 29, to allow for the addition of more cushion material.

The project had been planned for Preakness week, but heavy rainfall led the Maryland Jockey Club to postpone the work, which involves the addition of about 25,000 tons of material.

Stanley Concrete, a local company that participated in a major renovation of the Laurel surface during the winter, will lay the material. The track maintenance crew headed by Chris Bosley will work in the material and grade it to ensure the surface is level throughout.

“We want to make it as seamless as possible,” Sinatra said. “The track will be closed three days, but the project will probably take two. We hope to give the track back to the horsemen (for training) on Wednesday (May 30).”

Laurel reopens for its spring/summer meet Friday, June 1. The final day of racing at Pimlico Race Course is Monday, May 28.

Laurel Surface Project Delayed Because Of Rain

The Maryland Jockey Club has altered course with its planned track surface project at Laurel Park because of consistent heavy rain in the area.

The MJC said Laurel will now be open for training May 20-22 rather than closed so maintenance crews can about 25,000 tons of cushion material. The project will be rescheduled as soon as possible during the current Pimlico Race Course meet.

Stanley Concrete, a local company that participated in a major renovation of the Laurel surface during the winter, will lay the material. The track maintenance crew headed by Chris Bosley will work in the material and grade it to make sure its level.

Laurel reopens for live racing June 1.

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