December 2020 Newsletter Available

newsletter2020 12The December 2020 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.


MTHA Members: Check Your Mailboxes

Ballots for the MTHA’s 2020 election for the Board of Directors were mailed December 1 to all MTHA members. In order to be eligible to receive a ballot, a member must have a valid 2020 license issued by MRC on or before November 1, 2020.

To be counted, a ballot must properly completed and received back (NOT POSTMARKED) no later than December 31.

All ballots were mailed from and will be returned to a third-party company in Pennsylvania which specializes in corporate and non-profit elections.

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Laurel Park to close to patrons, horsemen still permitted

Laurel Park will close to the general public effective 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, but will continue to accommodate owners and other licensed horsemen who wish to attend the races.

The current Maryland Jockey Club COVID-19 protocols and procedures will remain in effect for all participants and owners during live racing. The grandstand will remain open during the races with the current access privileges. Further details will be released as they become available.

Pimlico Race Course will remain open for full-card simulcasting under COVID-19 restrictions, as will the eight Maryland Jockey Club-operated off-track betting facilities in Maryland: the Maryland State Fair at Timonium, Long Shot’s in Frederick, G Boone’s Restaurant and Bar in Boonsboro, Greenmount Station in Hampstead, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore; MGM National Harbor Casino in Fort Washington; Hollywood Casino Perryville, and Riverboat on the Potomac off the the coast of Colonial Beach, Va.

Maryland Jockey Club earlier in November tightened protocols due to the Covid-19 pandemic by closing to riders who aren’t based at Laurel Park and limiting access to the backstretch. 

Maryland Racing Commission moves to greatly limit use of clenbuterol

The Maryland Racing Commission in late October began the rule-making process for clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that would not be permitted unless it is prescribed by regulatory veterinarians under the proposed restrictions.

A coalition of 31 regulatory and stakeholder organizations representing all seven states in the Mid-Atlantic region have unanimously agreed to work together to implement the new rule. In Maryland, it will take about three months for the proposed regulation to go through the regulatory process, which will include a public comment period.

Under the current regional rule, clenbuterol may not be administered to a horse within 14 days of a race, and the concentration of the drug in a post-race blood sample may not exceed 140 picograms/milliliter. The new rule will eliminate the existing testing threshold, require regulatory approval in advance for a horse in racing or training that is prescribed the medication, mandate that the horse be placed on the Veterinarian's List, and bar the horse from racing until it tests negative in both blood and urine and completes a satisfactory workout observed by a regulatory veterinarian.

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Laurel to add live race days in December

Laurel Park will race four days per week through most of December instead of three under a revised schedule agreed upon by horsemen and the Maryland Jockey Club.

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Purse Committee and MJC officials met Nov. 17 and agreed to add three Sundays—Dec. 6, 13 and 20—to the live racing calendar to offer more racing opportunities for owners and trainers. Laurel already was scheduled to race Sunday, Dec. 27, as part of a post-Christmas weekend.

The four-day race weeks are Dec. 3-6; Dec. 10-13; and Dec. 17-20. The 2020 seasons concludes with racing Dec. 26-27 and Dec. 31, a Thursday. The winter meet begins Jan. 1, 2021.

Laurel has raced four days a week on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule since early October.

MD casinos, Purse Dedication Account have solid October

Maryland’s six casinos, operating at 50% capacity because of COVID-19 restrictions, generated $142.6 million in revenue in October, down only 0.9% from the same month a year ago, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

The Purse Dedication Account—it earns 6% of video lottery terminal revenue at MGM National Harbor, Live! Casino & Hotel, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Hollywood Casino Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino, and 2.5% at Rocky Gap Casino is & Resort—collected $5.56 million ($4.45 million for Thoroughbred racing) in October. This is actually a 2.97% increase from revenue received in 2019. 

The Racetrack Facility Renewal Account, which funds capital improvements, produced by $908,000 from its 1% VLT share.

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