Limited training resumes at Laurel; surface project progressing

Limited training resumed Tuesday, Jan. 11, at Laurel Park, and during an online community meeting held by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association later in the day officials indicated they are hopeful live racing can resume Sunday, Jan. 16—weather permitting.

Mike Rogers, an executive with The Stronach Group (1/ST Racing) who serves as Acting President of the Maryland Jockey Club, said “great progress” was made Jan. 10 on the accelerated plan to add another 2,000 tons of coarse sand to the cushion on the dirt track. Previously, about 2,000 tons had been worked into the surface as part of a winterization project that was stalled by a storm that dropped eight inches of snow on the Laurel area.

“If we stay on this path, it looks like we would be in a position to take entries Thursday for Sunday, but there is also a weather system that could potentially hit us this weekend,” Rogers said. “We’re willing to do it, or we could take a conservative approach and cancel racing Sunday and Monday (Jan. 17). We want to make sure the horsemen are comfortable with that as well.”

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Dr. Patty Hogan To Host Aftercare Seminar

Dr. Patty Hogan, a New Jersey-based equine surgeon who regularly works with retired racehorses and assists various aftercare programs in the Mid-Atlantic region, will host an upcoming seminar titled, “Avoiding the One Last Race Syndrome—Where are we now and what is your role as an owner or trainer?”

The program, sponsored by Beyond The Wire, will be held Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 11 a.m. More information will be released soon as to whether the event will be held in-person in the Conference Center in the Laurel Park grandstand or only via Zoom becuase of Covid-19 concerns.

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Maryland-Based Horses Sweep MATCH Titles

When the majority of partners in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH Series) decided in late 2020 not to hold the series for a second straight year because of lingering COVID-19 uncertainty, the MTHA and MJC began discussions to consider a scaled-down event that would use only stakes in Maryland. The idea was to bridge the gap until 2022.

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New Waiver Condition, Bonus Changes

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors in December approved a new waiver-claiming provision that takes effect with the first condition book in January 2022.

Maiden-claiming races for a tag of $25,000-$20,000 (purse $31,500) now offer a waiver provision for Maryland-sired horses only. The new provision will be regularly assessed to ensure it is meeting its goal of offering additional value for the owners of Maryland-sired runners.

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Aftercare Funding Initiative To Begin Mid January

The MTHA Board of Directors has approved an initiative designed to increase funding for the Beyond The Wire aftercare program.

Effective the midde of January, pending some programing changes with the inCompass Bookkeping system, and with the blessing of the Maryland Racing Commission, there is an assessment of 1.5% on the price of a claimed horse at Maryland racetracks. For example, the new owner or ownership group that claims a horse for $10,000 would pay a $150 assessment that would be used to support racehorses accepted by Beyond The Wire.

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2021 MTHA Toy Drive: A Huge Success!

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in December hosted perhaps its most successful Christmas Toy Drive in history thanks to contributions from numerous individuals.

The toys were distributed the morning of Saturday, Dec. 18, in the Laurel Park Track Kitchen along with a visit from Santa Claus and refreshments again provided by the Paz family. The MTHA thanks all the owners and trainers who contributed toys or money to purchase toys; jockey Victor Carrasco; Beau Cavell with Hi Lo Auto Sales, who donated eight new children’s bicycles; and the Maryland Jockey Club and Laurel patrons, who donated toys through the track’s “bring a gift, get a gift” program the weekend before Christmas.

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