Minutes of Public Meeting - June 6, 2023
Commission Members Present:
Staff Present Representing the Maryland Racing Commission:J. Michael Hopkins
Eric B. London
Assistant Attorney General
In accordance with §3-302, General Provisions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Maryland Racing Commission (“Commission”) met in person and by conference call in open session at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park on June 6, 2023. Prior to the meeting, Chairman Michael Algeo informed the public that their phones or computers should be muted, but he would give the public the opportunity to address the Commission during Public Comments. At the start of the meeting, Chairman Algeo confirmed that all Commissioner members were either present at Laurel or participating by phone or computer.
Minutes – May 2, 2023.
The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting on May 2, 2023, and voted to approve them. Commissioners West and Mahoney abstained from the vote, as they were not on the Commission at the April meeting, but all other members of the Commission voted in favor of approving the minutes.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that the Anti-Doping program from HISA had started on May 22, 2023. Mr. Hopkins also commented that all trainers should make themselves familiar with the new HISA rules. Further, Mr. Hopkins advised that the Commission would no longer be adjudicating thoroughbred medication cases.Fair Hill Race Day Request.
J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that he had received a request from the Fair Hill Foundation to run steeplechase racing at Fair Hill on September 9, 2023. Subsequently, the Foundation revised its request to run on September 2, 2023. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the revised request.
Proposed Regulations 09.10.01.07 and 09.10.01.17.
J. Michael Hopkins presented proposed regulation 09.10.01.07 that would amend the Claiming regulation to require an additional 1.5% of the claiming price to be given to the racehorse retirement program selected by the thoroughbred horsemen’s organization. Mr. Hopkins further stated that the Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (“MTHA”) support the amendment. David Richardson of the MTHA reported that the 1.5% of the claiming price had been a voluntary payment since early 2022 and generated approximately $120,000.00 for the program, but in recent months individuals who use the program to retire horses have opted out of the 1.5% voluntary payment. Chairman Algeo and Commissioner Wayson commented how well the retirement program was running and agreed this change was appropriate. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request. The second amended regulation, 09.10.01.17, would permit a trainer to enter up to three horses in a race, provided the race had at least six other entries. Mr. Hopkins reported that this proposal also had the support of the thoroughbred industry. Hearing no objection, the Commission also unanimously approved the request.
Maryland Standardbred Race Fund Committee.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins asked Commissioner Tammy Lafferty if she would continue to serve as the Chairman of the Standardbred Race Fund Advisory Committee for another year. Commissioner Lafferty agreed and after hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the appointment.
Maryland Jockey Club Requests.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with a request from the Maryland Jockey Club for its summer race meeting at Laurel Park beginning June 5, 2023 and ending on August 24, 2023. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests.
Maryland Jockey Club Update.
Mike Rogers, representing the Maryland Jockey Club, reported that the Maryland Jockey Club had come to an agreement with the thoroughbred horsemen and breeders to extend the 10-year agreement through December 31, 2023. Mr. Rogers also commented that even though Preakness handle and attendance was down, Black Eyed Susan Day was up slightly.
Commissioner Bobby Lillis asked Mike Rogers for the details of the agreement extension and Mr. Rogers replied that he was not at liberty to discuss the details of the agreement without consulting his attorneys.
Commissioner Mahoney asked if the results of the necropsy on Trainer Bob Baffert’s horse that broke down on Preakness Day was available. Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins responded that the Commission was still in the process of collecting all the required documents.
Commissioner Grecco asked about the press coverage of the potential closing of the Pimlico OTB. Mike Rogers responded that most customers had migrated to Timonium and the Horseshoe Casino, which has required the Maryland Jockey Club to review the OTB operations at Pimlico. Mr. Rogers indicated that the decision was still pending and that the OTB would remain open until a final decision was made.
Ocean Downs Update.
Bobbi Sample reported that Ocean Downs was open and operating at a slightly higher level overall from the previous year. Ms. Sample also reported that Ocean Downs would be holding entertainment at the races including Ostrich races.
Chairman Algeo advised the public that longtime Commission member Tom Winebrener would be ending his service for the Commission at the end of June. Chairman Algeo thanked Commissioner Winebrener for his service and friendship.
Jackie McCloud, representing the Maryland Standardbred Breeders, reported on track records being broken during 2022 and that the Maryland Standardbred Breeders would be hosting an awards dinner at Rosecroft on December 2, 2023.
April Smith, representing Friends of Pimlico, reported that finding food at Pimlico was very difficult on days other than Black Eyed Susan or Preakness Day.
Bill Reightler, representing the Maryland State Fair, announced the two-year-old in training sale was a success. He also noted that the State Fair was working on having another college day, which would be held one of the weekends of the Fair.
Cricket Goodall reported that the Maryland Horse Breeders would be having Gerry Brewster speak about his book at the Horse Breeders library on June 26, 2023. Further, she advised that the annual yearling show would be held on July 23, 2023.
Next Commission Meeting.
August 1, 2023, at Ocean Downs starting at 12:30 P.M.
/s/ Michael Algeo