- Published: Saturday, 02 May 2020 16:55
In light the shutdown of live racing at Laurel Park that began in mid-March, the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have agreed on a policy designed to assist owners when racing resumes. The MTHA Board of Directors signed off on it May 1.
Under the policy, horses which have not run since March 15—the last day of racing at Laurel before the COVID-19 shutdown—may enter a claiming race and waive the claiming price if the horse is entered for a claiming price not less than the claiming price for its last start. For instance, if a horse raced for a $16,000 tag and is entered in a claiming race with a price of $16,000 or higher, the owner can opt to waive the claiming price.
The rule is only applicable for a horse’s first start back for a period of 90 days, starting with the first day live racing resumes in Maryland.
“Obviously, we’re trying to find ways to help horsemen who have been struggling the last two months,” MTHA President Tim Keefe said. “The idea is, for owners who have claiming horses that haven’t run for two months, it would be a shame for them to run and be claimed immediately off the bat. It’s something we can do to support horsemen, and it doesn’t cost anything.”
“We wanted to do it so owners don’t have to risk a horse (in the claim box) for its first start back,” MJC President Sal Sinatra said. “They can enter for a price if they want to, but they don’t have to. We’ll leave it in place for 90 days until things hopefully get back to normal.”
Sinatra said Racing Secretary Jillian Tullock is working on a condition book for the initial days when racing resumes at Laurel. Industry officials have said they are hopeful that occurs in mid- to late May.