Jockey Baboolal Passes Away at 65

Johns BaboolalJohn Hardeo Baboolal, Jockey, of North Beach, Maryland, passed away on September 11, 2015 at the age of 65. He was born in Trinidad on April 26, 1950 to the late Bhiro Baboolal and Rampiari Baboolal.

His early years were spent at the Santa Rosa Race Track where he learned to muck stalls and exercise racehorses. His dream was to become a jockey as a young boy because he loved the speed and power of the magnificent horses. He had a clock in his head and the hands to hold the reins. At the age of fifteen he obtained is jockeys license and proceeded to became one of the most talented jockeys in Trinidad before coming to the United States in December, 1967 to pursue his racing career. He helped his mom and dad financially so his brothers and sisters could pursue their college education.

He rode his first win in the United States on February 29, 1968 on a horse named “SHAMAN”. He won races for some of the top trainers in the State of Maryland: R. E. Dutrow, Tuffy Hacker, Ronald Cartright, Grover (Bud) Delp, King T. Leatherbury, Howard Wolfendale and Ernest (Chico) Green to name a few. A good gate jockey who rode regularly on the Maryland circuit but won in other states, he was implemented as an unindicted co-conspirator in what is known as the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, when jockeys conspired to hold their horses in the ninth race at Bowie Racetrack in Maryland on February 14, 1975. His license was suspended for 10 years. He continued to exercise and break racehorses on farms and continued to ride races in Canada. He returned to riding where he was the leading rider at Bowie Racetrack when it closed in 1985. He officially retired as a jockey in 1997 due to weight but continued to exercise racehorses.

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Backstretch Scholarship Award Winners Announced

Walmart Scholarship grantTwo strong, determined women, Jenny Hamilton and Kara Evans, lead the list of scholarship winners who will be recognized Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Maryland Racing Media Association’s annual Crab Feast in the Carriage Room at Laurel Park.

Hamilton, winner of the $2,500 Lucy Acton Memorial Scholarship for Service, and Evans, winner of the $2,500 Eddie McMullen Memorial Scholarship, both have shown their drive and love of horses by working full time on local Maryland farms while, at the same time, taking major course loads and putting themselves through several educational programs.

This year the MRMA, which was originally organized in 1937, is distributing a total of $20,000 to 12 applicants. All of the winners either work at Maryland racetracks or are employed on thoroughbred farms in the state. This year, the memorial awards prizes were kept the same, but in the other three levels they were all increased by about $250. This year’s awards bring the total amount of money distributed over the past 15 years to nearly $400,000.

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October 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 10The October 2015 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.


Bender Passes Away at Age of 84

BenderHoward Bender, who with his late wife, Sondra, operated one of Maryland’s most successful and largest racing stables, passed away Monday, Sept. 28, at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was 84.

“It was a little bit of a shock,” said Larry Murray, Bender’s trainer for nearly three decades and the manager of Bender’s farm, Glade Valley, near Frederick. “But it’s hard to have too many regrets. He had a long and great life and touched an awful lot of people.”

Bender and his late wife had been active in the breeding and racing business in Maryland since 1983 and were honored by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association in 2001, 2002 and 2003 as Maryland Breeders of the Year. Howard was honored again in 2014, and on Sept. 11 of this year received the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s award, which honors the achievements of thoroughbred breeders in 23 states and Canada, and owners in the four major North American racing regions.

In 2014, Bender bred stakes winners Bear Access, winner of the Maryland Million Ladies Stakes; More Than A Cruise, winner of the Conniver Stakes; and Ghost Bay, named 2-year-old Maryland-bred champion male after winning the Maryland Juvenile Futurity. Horses bred in Bender’s name and/or in partnership with his late wife made 154 starts in 2014, won 25 races with 19 seconds and 20 thirds, for earnings of $818,565.

Over the years, The Benders won more than 500 races and more than $14 million in purses. They had two horses in Triple Crown races: Southern Appeal in the 1986 Kentucky Derby, who finished 13th, and Foufa’s Warrior, who was seventh in the 2003 Preakness Stakes.

The Benders’ horses also had wonderful success in the Maryland Million. Their most successful homebred was La Reine’s Terms, who won 11 stakes including five in 2002 on five different turf courses. La Reine’s Terms retired with $804,591 in earnings after winning the 2005 Maryland Million Turf.

Despite Bender’s being successful for decades, this year has not been going nearly so well, Murray said.
“We’ve been having our worst year ever,” he said. “There are a couple in the barn who are promising, but Mr. Bender won’t be here to see them run.”

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September 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 9The September 2015 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.


Capital Improvements Continue At Laurel Park

0628 BIZ Hard hat glovesIt’s out with the old and in with the new in the Laurel Park clubhouse, as the Stronach Group continues its plans for capital improvements at the track first built in 1911.

Underway is the remodeling of the Wilwyn Theater, which is also getting a new name – Silks. It’s part of the Stronach Group’s plan for continuing to brand its business. Silks will correspond with Silks at Gulfstream Park, but Maryland Jockey Club president and general manager Sal Sinatra said,

“I believe ours will be better.” And when you hear Sinatra describe what’s coming, you might agree with him. New carpet and a new color scheme, he said. But he’s just warming up. There also will be 90 new flat-screen televisions. Nice, but he’s not done.

“The center wall will have a state-of-the-art, high-definition, 17 ½-foot diagonal picture,” he said. “It’s a $70,000 TV. The horses look like they’re going to run over you!”
There will be better carrels, work desks, with granite tops and their own individual lighting. Each desk will have a plug for an iPad or computer – and a headphone system also is being installed.

“Right now we have 20 TVs on the wall with telecasts from various tracks, but you only hear Laurel,” Sinatra said. “We are developing an app where I can program 16 channels. You plug your headphones in and you can hear whatever track you want. No one else has that.

“We’re trying to get the ‘WOW!’ factor. You’ll see it right there. We’re planning to have those earbuds available at guest services. You can bring your own or you can get ours free and they’re yours to keep. I’m hoping people will get them, hold on to them and bring them back each time they come.”

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Purse Release