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Minutes of Public Meeting - February 23, 2017

Commission Members Present:

Ronald Thomas
Tammy Lafferty
David Hayden
Dr. Thomas Bowman
Tom Winebrener
Konrad Wayson

Members Absent:

Michael Algeo
Ernest Grecco

Staff Present Representing the Maryland Racing Commission:

J. Michael Hopkins

Executive Director
Eric B. London
Assistant Attorney General

In accordance with the Notice of Public Meeting, as required by §3-302, General Provisions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Maryland Racing Commission (“Commission”) met in open session on February 23, 2017, commencing at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

Minutes – January 17, 2017.

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting of January 17, 2017, and voted to approve them. Commissioner Wayson abstained from the vote due to his inability to attend the January meeting.

Pimlico Stake Schedule.

The Commission was presented with a request from the Maryland Jockey Club for its 2017 Pimlico stake schedule. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Maryland Jockey Club Race Meeting Requests.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that he had received requests from the Maryland Jockey Club for their spring race meetings at Laurel Park, Pimlico and Rosecroft Raceway. Mr. Hopkins further commented that the requests were standard requests, which included, but were not limited to, permission to import and export the races they find marketable, officials, types of wagering being offered and number of live days. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests.

Maryland Jockey Club Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins reported the he had received a request from the Maryland Jockey Club for reimbursement of $769,728.00 for qualified capital projects from the Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund. Mr. Hopkins further reported that the request had been reviewed by Gegorek and Company, the Commission’s Certified Public Accountant, as required by law. The improvements include the infield tote board at Rosecroft Raceway, upgraded Amtote terminals inside the facility, electrical and cabling infrastructure and surveillance systems at Rosecroft. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Maryland Jockey Club Update.

Sal Sinatra representing the Maryland Jockey Club (“MJC”) reported that construction and permitting continues for the new barn and future projects. Mr. Sinatra also reported that John Passero had been retained to inspect the track surfaces at Laurel and Pimlico. Mr. Sinatra further advised that Mr. Passero had discovered areas at both tracks that needed attention and repair. Mr. Sinatra also advised that the March 18, 2017 Celebration Day at Laurel Park will be expected to draw a large crowd.

Proposed Regulation – Out of Competition Testing - Definitions.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins provided the Commission with a proposed regulation that amended the “Definitions” section of the “Prohibited Acts” section of COMAR. Mr. Hopkins further commented that at the last meeting on January 17, 2017, the Commission approved the out-of-competition regulations pending final approval from Secretary Schulz, who had asked that further research be completed to determine if the prohibited list of drugs could be referenced in lieu of having to amend the regulations each time a drug was added or deleted from the list. Having completed the research with Assistant Attorney General Eric London, and having developed language to accomplish the suggestion of Secretary Schulz, Mr. Hopkins requested the Commission approve the proposed regulation on an emergency and proposed basis. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the recommendation.

Claiming Regulations.

The Commission was advised that at the most recent meeting of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (MTHA), its Board voted to request the Commission review the claiming rules in Maryland. In particular, the MTHA was asking the Commission to consider amending the current regulation that requires a claimed horse to run for at least 25% more than it was claimed for, no less than 30 days from the day of the claim to 20 days. Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins advised that between 2012 and early 2013, the Maryland thoroughbred tracks were experiencing an unusual number of catastrophic breakdowns. As a result, the Commission established a Safety & Welfare Committee. One recommendation of the Safety &Welfare Committee was to modify the claiming rule to its current language. Mr. Hopkins suggested that the request to amend the current regulation be referred to the Safety & Welfare Committee for discussion. Alan Forman representing the MTHA also suggested that the issue be sent to the Committee. In addition, Mr. Forman commented that this particular rule was not consistent in the mid-Atlantic region and would also be a good topic to discuss at the regional meeting being held on March 28th at Delaware Park. Trainers Jerry Robb and Kieron Magee commented that the claiming rule, as it is currently written, restricts a claimed horse from running for 45 to 60 days, because of the live racing schedule of only 3 days per week and the synchronization of the condition book. The Commission agreed to refer the matter to the Safety &Welfare Committee.

Legislative Update.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins explained to the Commission that proposed legislation would require the tracks to establish a process that would enable them to capture past due child support, if a winning wager required a W-2 to be issued. Further, there was legislation introduced regarding the Bowie training center, which is believed to be withdrawn, because of a memorandum of understanding entered into between the Stronach Group and the sponsors of the legislation. Mr. Hopkins further noted that the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act, which has been introduced by the Governor, would fund all the Commission salaries and administrative costs from the Purse Dedication Account.

January VLT Report.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with a VLT report from the month of January.

Public Comments.

Receiving no public comments, the Commission adjourned the meeting.

Next Commission Meeting.

The next Commission meeting will be held on March 23, 2017, at 12:30 P.M. in the Clubhouse at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director