Groom Elite Basic Grooming Class A Success Cultivating Workers

The first Groom Elite program in Maryland June 25-29 proved a success, as it helped fill six hot walker positions and one groom position.

About 20 people participated in the weeklong Basic Grooming 99 program, which is designed to introduce people to the basics of working with racehorses. The program instructor was Dr. Reid McLellan, who formed the program almost 20 years ago, with assistance from former Maryland-based trainer Chris Grove.

McClellan made all the students feel at home when the program began. After a brief introductory period, he went one by one and called each by name. “I think it’s important that I know your name,” McLellan said.

The students spent roughly four hours a day together, so familiarity was important. Bobby Lillis, a former jockey who serves as MTHA Director of Assistance Programs, said he was impressed with the proceedings.

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MJC Now Recording Horse’s Weights In Paddock

After a trial run a week earlier, Laurel Park on June 22 began officially recording the weight of each horse as it entered the paddock for the racing program.

Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra explained that grooms are now asked to go to the scale on the right when they enter the paddock and allow horses to stand on the scale for about four seconds. The weight is recorded and shown on the Laurel simulcast graphics before each race.

Sinatra said Equibase will begin publishing horses’ weights in its past performances for Laurel races. Recording of weights is a project of The Stronach Group, which owns Laurel.

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Hale Named MJC Vice President of Racing Development

Georganne Hale, who has served as Vice President of Racing and Racing Secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club, has taken the new position of Vice President of Racing Development for the organization.

Hale has been racing secretary for the MJC since 2000 and began with the MJC in 1984 as assistant racing secretary. Chris Merz, assistant racing secretary at Los Alamitos Race Course and stakes coordinator at Santa Anita Park and Del Mar, will take over as MJC racing secretary.

In her new position, Hale will oversee and coordinate revitalization of the Maryland International, formerly known as the Washington D.C. International; assist with the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH Series), which returned to the calendar this year after 16 years; lead and monitor philanthropic initiatives with Beyond The Wire, Canter for a Cause and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance; and serve as a liaison for backstretch programs.

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Match Series Revival Going Strong

Horses based or bred in Maryland have put in strong showings during the first two rounds in the five divisions that make up the 2018 MATCH Series.

As of July 1, the overall leader by points with 17 was Adam Staple and Jalin Stable’s 8-year-old Pennsylvania-bred gelding Page McKenney, who is trained at Pimlico Race Course by Mary Eppler. Oak Bluffs, an 8-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding owned and trained by Eppler, was second with 15 points.

Maryland-bred Lewisfield, who was bred and is owned by Linda Zang of Maryland and trained by Jeff Runco, was third with 12 points. They all have one thing in common: Each raced in the first two stakes in their respective division and also top the standings in their respective “state-bred” division, separate bonuses for which will be paid to breeders and certifiers from participating organizations.

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July 2018 Newsletter Available

newsletter2018 7The July 2018 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.


Multi-party agreement restores Maryland restricted stakes program

The Maryland Racing Commission June 28 signed off on an agreement whereby the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Horse Breeders Association will authorize financial adjustments to the Maryland Thoroughbred Purse Account and Maryland-Bred Race Fund to share the cost of about $1 million in Maryland-bred stakes annually to save the restricted stakes program.

The MHBA Board of Directors and the MRC’s Maryland Race Fund Advisory Board recently voted to eliminate the entire Maryland-bred stakes program to maintain funding for 30% breeder bonuses in place since 2015.

MRC Executive Director Mike Hopkins said there is a major structural deficit in the Maryland Bred Race Fund, which led the MTHA and MHBA to enter discussions on how to resolve it. The agreement was ratified by the MRC, under which the Maryland-Bred Race Fund falls.

The spending agreement spans July 1 of this year through the end of 2020. The groups agreed to meet at least biannually to assess calculation of the program and make any necessary adjustments, Hopkins said.

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