COVID loan programs get more funding; owners, tracks eligible

Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is included in a $480 billion in coronavirus (COVID-19) financial relief passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representative and signed by President Trump April 24.

The EIDL program and Paycheck Protection Program are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that passed Congress in March. The most recent legislation adds $60 billion to the EIDL program and another $310 billion for the PPP.

The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association April 24 announced that the Small Business Administration issued new guidance clarifying that racetracks and small entities such as horse ownership entities are eligible for PPP loans.

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MD task force develops protocols for resumption of racing

The Maryland Racing Commission April 23 was given an update on the work of a task force charged with developing protocols and procedures necessary for a return of live racing, which was suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Many of them have been in place for weeks at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, which remain open for training. Before the state-ordered shutdown of live racing, Laurel successfully offered three days of racing with only essential personnel permitted on the grounds.

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Advisory to Maryland horsemen on aftercare

CANTER is a listing service run by volunteers that advertises retiring horses for owners and trainers. In light of recent issues we have encountered, Maryland horsemen are encouraged to first contact the Beyond The Wire aftercare program when they choose to retire a racehorse.
The CANTER listing service is not accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and because of that horsemen who use the service are solely responsible for screening the buyers and ensuring that the horses go to safe and secure homes with people who can properly care for them. Also beware that unlike TAA-accredited facilities, CANTER offers no safety net for horses should the rehoming situation not work out. This fact makes it even more imperative that the trainer be extremely honest and disclose all useful information, which is always in the best interest of the horse.
Beyond The Wire’s partner farms are TAA-accredited and take their horses back should an adoption not work out. Please contact Beyond The Wire administrator Jessica Hammond at 301-776-0404 if you need to retire a horse.
“Our partner facilities have a lot of space despite the circumstances (related to COVID-19),” Hammond said. “We’re still moving horses during this time.”

Maryland racing community mourns passing of Martin Mora

The Maryland racing community is mourning the loss of Martin Mora, a Maryland Jockey Club security guard and former backstretch worker who died the morning of April 18 at his home in Laurel. He was 56.

Mora was well-recognized by many at the MJC racetracks because of his presence in the winner's circle on live racing days. Part of his security job was monitoring activities and assisting longtime track photographer Jim McCue at the finish line. And if there was precipitation, he held the umbrella over McCue and his camera.

"He was more than just a security guard—he was a great friend and he had a good sense of humor," McCue said. "I relied on him. He took care of me when it rained. One year just before the Preakness he had emergency surgery on his leg, and I remember asking (former MJC President Tom Chuckas) if Martin could come back and handle the winner's circle. He told me, 'As long as he gets clearance from a doctor.' Martin really wanted to come back. He was with me for eight to 10 years."

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MD to launch online one-stop unemployment insurance application

The Maryland Department of Labor on April 24 will launch a one-stop unemployment insurance application that will implement the two remaining programs in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, have insufficient work history, or who have exhausted their benefits since July 1, 2019, and are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will now be able to submit their applications online and receive their benefits retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility.

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MTHA schedules community webinar to discuss ongoing racing shutdown

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association will host a racing community webinar and question-and-answer session Thursday, April 16, to discuss the ongoing shutdown of live racing in the state and related issues due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The webinar, which will begin at 2 p.m., will allow for an open forum for discussion of issues brought about by the shutdown; health and safety protocols in the stable areas; and to provide as much clarity as possible on the status of live racing in the state. Representatives of the MTHA, Maryland Jockey Club and The Stronach Group are expected to be avaible.

Click here to register for the webinar.

The MTHA and Maryland Horsemen's Assistance Fund also announced that two small businesses with close ties to Maryland horse racing have been retained to produce reusable masks for backstretch workers at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

Cathy Morse, who owns Stitches by Chloe, an Easton company that produces owner colors, saddlecloths, paddock blankets and other related items; and Laura Bravo, a longtime backstretch worker and seamstress, have begun the process of making the masks, which are in short supply in many locations.

The MTHA expects production of about 750 masks to be completed by the weekend of April 18-19 with arrival the following week. Distribution on the backstretch will be organized by the MTHA and MJC security personnel.


Purse Release