MD House passes Racing Development bill on 122-8 vote

The Maryland House of Delegates the afternoon of March 14 passed the Racing and Community Development Act on a 122-8 vote.

The House followed the Senate, which earlier passed its version of the legislation by a vote of 44-1. The two bills vary only slightly—the primary components such as the funding mechanism for the Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course are the same—and the votes indicate strong support for the measure.

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Important Procedures For Maryland Horsemen During Covid-19 Crisis

The Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association are continuing to work together on various procedures related to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Effective immediately, no visitors will be permitted in the stable areas at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, per the MJC. If backstretch workers order food from off site, they must meet delivery personnel at the stable gate.

Though patrons are not permitted in the clubhouse/grandstand at Laurel during live racing, employees with racing commission badges will be able to cash checks in the grandstand on Saturdays only beginning March 21. Current live race days at Laurel are Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As is the case with other Stronach Group racetracks in California and Florida, food service will not be available at Laurel Park for owners, trainers, grooms and others required to be on hand for live racing. All horsemen and personnel must enter the facility through the Horsemen’s entrance adjacent the racing office—the grandstand will not be accessible—and the MJC will provide seating and televisions for horsemen and their employees in TIPS on the first floor of the clubhouse.

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Laurel to race but public not permitted access; OTBs remain open

Effectively immediately, the Maryland Jockey Club said it will temporality close Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Rosecroft Raceway to the public "with the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of our customers and employees and in following the best available guidance from local and international health authorities" regarding coronavirus.

Live racing will continue at Laurel and Rosecroft, but only personnel licensed by the Maryland Racing Commission and staff required to put on the racing product will be allowed access. Wagering on live and simulcast tracks will not be available at Laurel or Rosecroft, and no simulcasts will be offered at Pimlico.

The MJC said all seven off-track betting outlets—standalone facilities in Boonsboro, Frederick, Hampstead and Timonium and those located in Maryland casinos (Horseshoe Balitmore, MGM National Harbor and Hollywood Casino Perryville)—will remain open. Wagering is also available online through The Stronach Group's 1/ST Bet and Xpressbet apps and other advance deposit wagering providers.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and will look forward to welcoming our fans and guests again soon," the MJC said in a release.

Live racing is scheduled at Laurel on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in March. First-race post time is 1:10 p.m.

Horsemen invited to attend veterinary symposium in Maryland

The North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians this year is inviting horsemen to attend its spring symposium, which will be held April 9-10 in Hunt Valley, Md.

The two-day agenda begins Thursday at 3:15 p.m. and continues Friday with a full day of lectures from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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MD Senate passes sports betting legislation on 47-0 vote

The Maryland Senate March 10 passed a sports betting bill by a vote of 47-0 and will send it to the House of Delegates for consideration.

Multiple amendments were made to the bill last week. All of them were added to the legislation, which would authorize sports betting should the public approve a statewide constitutional amendment in November.

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MD Senate approves Racing Development Act on 44-1 vote

The Maryland Senate March 6 overwhelming passed the Racing and Community Development Act of 2020, which now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.

There was no discussion before the vote, which was registered at 44-1. It came almost a year after Maryland lawmakers shot down a plan to rebuild Laurel Park but not Pimlico Race Course, which hosts the Preakness Stakes, third leg of the Triple Crown.

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