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Minutes of Public Meeting - April 23, 2020

Commission Members Present:

Michael Algeo
Emmet Davitt
David Hayden
Thomas Bowman
Ernie Grecco
Clarissa Coughlin
Konrad Wayson
Tammy Lafferty

Members Absent:

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 by conference call in open session on April 23, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. Prior to beginning the meeting, Chairman Mike Algeo informed the public that during the meeting because of the meeting being held as a conference call that everyone should mute their phones and that after the Commission moves through the agenda there would be the opportunity for public comments. The Chairman took a roll call of the Commission member’s present on the call to ascertain a proper quorum to which each Commission member verbally acknowledged their presence.

Minutes – February 27, 2020

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its February 27, 2020 meeting and voted to approve the minutes.   

Final Regulations.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that three proposed regulations were being presented to the Commission for final adoption: restricts the administration of any intra-articular injection to a thoroughbred horse  14 days prior to being eligible to run in a race; amends the permissive amount of certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications in post-race specimens to be considered “stacking” and restricts the use of certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The Commission voted on each regulation separately and unanimously approved all three for final adoption.

Legislative Update.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that two proposed legislative initiatives impacting racing were approved during the 2020 legislative session. First, was the “Racing and Community Development Act” which provides for the sale of bonds to rebuild both Laurel Park and Pimlico and a measure that will put the question of expanding gaming to sports wagering on the November referendum.

Maryland Jockey Club Update.

Sal Sinatra reported that during this time they have had the opportunity to ID all of the horses in the barn arears of Laurel and Pimlico and will continue to do so for the horses entering or leaving the stable area. He also thanked the horseman for being extremely cooperative in adhering to the safety protocol’s that have been put in place in the barn areas. Commissioner Grecco asked if the backstretch workers were eligible for unemployment benefits. Mr. Sinatra responded that they were.

Alan Rifkin representing Maryland Jockey Club reported that during the Covid-19 out-break the tracks have been operating without incident since being closed in March. In preparation to re-open the tracks, horseman and breeders have been working with Med Star to develop protocols that would allow the tracks to re-open without patrons. Those protocols were still being finalize and will be presented to Secretary Robinson and Secretary Schulz for their review before being presented to the Governor for his consideration whenever he makes a determination it would be appropriate to begin racing again. Mr. Rifkin emphasized the industry was taking into account the safety and welfare of the people working on the tracks and making sure their lively hoods are protected, which are so dependent on in the industry.

Alan Forman commented that Mr. Rifkin had explained their situation very well and that he did not have much to add other than expressing thanks to the Med Star people and the Governor for their leadership during these difficult times.

Commissioner Lafferty asked if the harness tracks were being considered as well. Mr. Hopkins responded that since the Maryland Jockey Club owned Rosecroft as well they would have to develop their own set of protocols since the operate very differently and that he had spoken to Bobbi Sample of Ocean Downs who has begun to review protocols utilized by other tracks owned by CDI.

Prior to opening the floor to public comments Chairman Algeo thanked the Governor for his leadership and restated the obvious question everyone was asking. When can we race? And the answer to that question as the Chairman continued was “I do not know” but we will at some time and that time will be determined by the Governor.

Public Comments.

Andy Cashman of the Maryland State Fair commented that the 2 year-old in training sale has been moved from May to the end of June.
Tom Cooke thanked everyone for their time and efforts and wanted to ask what the possibility would be to have limited training at Rosecroft for 2 year olds. Sal Sinatra responded that he would have that discussion.

Cricket Goodall commented that she fully supported all that is being done to get racing going and also thanked the Governor for his efforts and leadership as well. There were no public comments.

Dam Myer representing the Maryland Standardbred Breeders asked if the Commission could waive a sustaining payment date. Mr. Hopkins responded the he had spoken to the administrator of the Fund Cheri Stambaugh a few weeks earlier about this and that through the Attorney General’s office a request for an exception had been submitted to the Secretary of Labor.

Mike Hall, a Standardbred trainer asked when qualifiers could be offered at the Ocean or Rosecroft. Mr. Hopkins responded that he should contact the CSOA representative Gina Maybe to begin discussions.

Next Commission Meeting

The next Commission Meeting will be held on May 28, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. via a conference call or similar technology and that instructions for participation would be posted on the Racing Commission website.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director