Minutes of Public Meeting - May 3, 2022
Commission Members Present:
Staff Present Representing the Maryland Racing Commission:J. Michael Hopkins
Eric B. London
Assistant Attorney General
Principal Counsel, Department of Labor
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 7, 2022. 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 took a roll call of the Commission members and confirmed that Commissioner Tammy Lafferty was absent and Commissioners Emmet Davitt and Tom Winebrener were participating by phone or computer, with all remaining members participating in person.
Before beginning the meeting, Chairman Algeo informed the public that Commissioner Clarissa Coughlin had resigned from the Commission. Chairman Algeo further commented that Commissioner Coughlin made tremendous contributions to the Commission and he was thankful for her service to the State of Maryland. Chairman Algeo introduced Bobby Lillis as Ms. Coughlin’s replacement on the Commission. Mr. Lillis advised that he was thankful for the opportunity to serve on the Commission.
Minutes – May 3, 2022.
The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting on May 3, 2022 and voted unanimously to approve the minutes.
Maryland State Fair.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins provided the Commission with a request from the Maryland State Fair for their upcoming race meet beginning August 25, 2022 through September 5, 2022. Included in the letter were requests to import and export the races they found marketable, common pool wagering and simulcasting of their races to out of state facilities. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.
Maryland Jockey Club – Update – Track Surface.
Mike Rogers, representing the Maryland Jockey Club, reported he appreciated the Commission’s involvement with the Preakness and further appreciated the manner in which the Preakness was executed, since this was the first time he had been involved with the running of the event.
Mr. Rogers further commented that he receives regular comments from veterinarians and that he he personally goes to the backstretch to discuss any concerns reported by the trainers. Mr. Rogers reported that there were some problems in May at Laurel, but those issues have been resolved. One of the issues related to track conditions, where the track got hard after a rain event and early in the morning. Adjustments were made with harrows and those issues have been resolved. Commissioner Wayson asked if the track surface was at its optimum mix. Mr. Rogers responded that the cushion was very close to what they wanted, but it was not something that could be exact. Mr. Rogers also commented that Glen Kozak and Joe Moore were still involved and commenting on the track surface. Commissioner Bowman advised that he had been receiving good comments from trainers and thanked Mr. Rogers for his work on the track conditions.
Ocean Downs Update.
Bobbi Sample reported that Ocean Downs, which is owned by Churchill Downs, reported wagering increased on the Derby and Preakness. Ms. Sample advised that Ocean Downs was preparing for their early opening, but it was still having staffing challenges with food and beverage.
Andy Cashman, representing the Maryland State Fair, reported that the two-year old in training sale went very well. Dale Capuano, a thoroughbred trainer, asked the Commission to send a letter to the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Association (“HISA”) asking them to delay the implementation of the new regulations that are to take effect on July 1, 2022. Mr. Capuano advised that the new regulations could not be adequately reviewed by July 1, 2022. Chairman Algeo acknowledged Mr. Capuano’s request.
Next Commission Meeting.
August 18, 2022, at Ocean Downs starting at 12:30 P.M.
At approximately 1:12 P.M., the Commission adjourned into Executive Session to obtain legal advice from its counsel, Assistant Attorney General Eric London and Milena Trust, Principal Counsel to the Department of Labor, regarding a potential agreement to implement regulations adopted by the Federal Trade Commission between the Maryland Racing Commission and the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA).
At approximately 1:30 P.M., the Commission reconvened from its Executive Session and Chairman Algeo reported that after receiving legal advice from counsel on the voluntary implementation agreement negotiated with HISA that a motion was made to approve the agreement and the motion was unanimously approved.
/s/Michael J. Algeo