MTHA’s Expedited Purse Release Program A Success

Since the beginning of 2016, horsemen whose runners finished first or second in a race in Maryland have been forced to wait on average 12.5 days for their purse money to clear because of holds imposed because of state-mandated laboratory testing. Sometimes that wait has been three to close to four weeks because of holidays and other unforeseen circumstances.

Horsemen will be relieved to know that earlier this year, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen Association Board of Directors approved the implementation of the Expedited Purse Release Program, a program designed to speed payment of purses to owners and finishing first or second in an overnight after a 72 hour hold.

In the past, the funds were not allowed to be released until a clean laboratory test was returned from the accredited lab located in California. Horsemen learned to be patient.

“Horse racing is a tough game,” trainer Tim Salzman Jr. said. “We all try to do what we can to make a little money. When we win, we need that money as quick as possible – to pay the help, pay the feed bills. But you call the bookkeepers office and the money hasn’t cleared because they’re still waiting for the test results. People in other situations, it’s OK, they may not need the money, but most of us do.”

So the MTHA board took action.

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Summer Ends On a High Note With Increased Numbers At Big T

Things continue to look up for Maryland racing as the Maryland State Fair concluded with a festive meet of thoroughbred racing that featured a significant increase handle across the board. Total wagering on the seven-day meet totaled $3,572,474 with an average live handle increase of 12.5%, bolstered by an 30% increase on the Labor Day card alone.

For many patrons, the meet was an opportunity to get their first glimpse of the new OTB facility that runs year round in the grandstand at Timonium. Attendees could take advantage of the indoor, air conditioned, facilities of the OTB Center to escape from the summer heat or grab a bite to eat at the Grandstand Grille which features many of Maryland’s finest food. The OTB Center is open year round, 7 days a week, and should be even more popular in the future following the exposure it received during the live racing meet at Timonium.

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September 2016 Newsletter Available

newsletter2016 9The September 2016 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.


TOBA Concierge Service Provides Valuable Resource To Owners

If you own a Thoroughbred and are taking it to a racetrack or to a sale where you’ve never been before, you probably have a dozen questions.

Who do you call to get stalls? Where should you stay? Where should you eat? How do you get a box seat at the track? Do you need a rental car, a car service or are taxis readily available?

Like the old movie line asks: Who you gonna call?

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and Fasig-Tipton have joined together to create the TOBA Owners Concierge Program. It is a service dedicated to providing owners with superior customer service.

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Revamped Counseling Program Helping Maryland Horsemen

The physical demands that horsemen face are well known to those familiar with the industry. Long hours, hard labor, and non-stop care for our equine athletes can not only affect a horsemen’s physical health and stability, but their mental well-being too. That is why MTHA in partnership with Maryland Jockey Club has placed a renewed interest in the counseling and mental health services offered to horsemen and backstretch workers, and the results have been remarkable.

Spearheading these efforts at Maryland tracks is Counseling Administrator Jessica Hammond. Jessica attended Towson University for her undergraduate studies and then the University of Baltimore for post grad work in clinical psychology. However, her lifelong work with horses and experience on the backside is what allows Jessica to excel at identifying the sometimes unique problems found only on a racetrack backstretch.

“When I saw the ad for this position, I knew [a career] in the psychology/racing intersection was a unique and amazing opportunity. It was a perfect fit for me,” said Jessica.

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MRMA Scholarships Applications Being Accepted

scholarship-booksApplications for the Maryland Racing Media Association’s 2016 scholarship program are being accepted through Sept. 30. Click here to download.

With the support of industry donors and organizations, MRMA has distributed approximately $25,000 annually to scholarship recipients over the past decade. Those interested in applying must either be backstretch employees, work on a Thoroughbred farm or with an equine vet clinic in Maryland.

Submissions need to include an employer’s letter of recommendation and a second reference from an individual who is a licensed or recognized member of the Maryland racing industry. 

The scholarships will be distributed at an event hosted by MRMA sometime in the fall.

For more infomration, contact Ted Black at (301) 459-4408.

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