THA to Host Online CE Seminar on Racetrack Maintenance and Safety

The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association will host the first in a series of online Continuing Education seminars starting in January. It will provide Maryland horsemen with an opportunity to earn credit toward a CE program that will take effect when a Maryland Racing Commission regulation receives final approval.

Mick Peterson, executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, will kick off the series with a presentation on Racetrack Safety and RSTL’s Maintenance Quality System, which is a research-based electronic data collection service that provides racetracks an efficient method for assessing and maintaining the track surface.

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Congress passes spending plan that includes HISA, depreciation extension

The United States House of Representatives and Senate the evening of Dec. 21 passed a $1.4 trillion spending package includes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 and an extension of a racehorse tax depreciation schedule.

Early in the morning of Dec. 22, federal lawmakers also passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that includes provisions that could benefit the horse racing and breeding industry. The programs are similar to those that were established in the spring of 2020 to offer financial aid to individuals and businesses impacted by the virus.

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MRC adopts expanded 'void claim' rule

The Maryland Racing Commission has approved an update that expands the state’s “void claim” regulation.

The MRC at its Dec. 2 meeting approved the measure with emergency status, which is designed to speed up the adoption process. MRC Executive Director Mike Hopkins said it is possible the regulation could be in place in January, but it depends upon the schedule of the state Legislative Review Committee.

The current regulation states that “a claim is voidable at the sole direction of the new owner, for a period of one hour after a race is made official, for any horse that is vanned off the track after the race at the discretion of the State Veterinarian.” The updated language adds that a claim can be voided, for a period of one hour after a race is made official, if a horse “is sent to the detention barn and observed to be lame by the State Veterinarian.”

Overall casino revenue, purse contribution take hits in November

Revenue generated at Maryland casinos, including the share that goes to the Purse Dedication Account, was down in November compared with the numbers recorded in November 2019, according to statistics from Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

The six casinos produced $130.37 million in revenue in November, down 7.4% from $140.83 million for the same month a year ago. When casinos resumed operations the third week of June after a three-month COVID-19 shutdown, they were permitted to operate at 50% capacity. Because of further restrictions in the city, Horseshoe Baltimore has been operating at 25% for more than a month.

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Thomas getting acclimated as MJC Senior Veterinarian

Dr. Heidi Thomas, who has roughly 25 years of experience as a private veterinary practitioner primarily in Florida, has been getting acclimated since she started her job as the Maryland Jockey Club Senior Veterinarian in mid-October.

Thomas, originally from Connecticut, earned her undergraduate degree at Purdue University in Indiana and her veterinary degree at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts. Though she has done regulatory veterinary work at tracks in Florida and Arizona, much of her time has been with the prominent veterinary practice Teigland, Franklin & Brokken, DVMs in South Florida.

She was working at Gulfstream Park and Gulfstream Park West before relocating to Maryland.

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MRC approves continuing education requirement, other regulations

The Maryland Racing Commission Dec. 2 approved final regulations authorizing a continuing education requirement for trainers, a ban on race-day Lasix in graded stakes, and expanded restrictions on shock wave therapy. All three began moving through the regulatory process months ago.

Continuing education programs are part of the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities. According to the Maryland rule, trainers and assistant trainers, when licensed Jan. 1, 2022, must provide affirmation that they participated in four hours of continuing education in calendar year 2021. Two hours must be devoted to equine health and welfare.

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