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Minutes of Public Meeting - December 13, 2018

Commission Members Present:

Mike Algeo, Chairman
Thomas Bowman
David Hayden
Clarissa Coughlin
Tom Winebrener
Konrad Wayson
Tammy Lafferty

Ronald Thomas
Ernie Grecco

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 in open session on December 13, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland. Chairman Mike Algeo welcomed the public to the meeting

Minutes – October 25, 2018.

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting of October 25, 2018 and voted unanimously to approve them.

Equine Medical and Welfare Director.

J. Michael Hopkins, Executive Director of the Commission, introduced Dr. Elizabeth Daniel as the Commission’s new Equine Medical and Welfare Director. Mr. Hopkins commented that the Commission was able to obtain funding for this position through discussions with Secretary Kelly Schulz. Chairman Mike Algeo and other Commission members welcomed Dr. Daniel.

United States Trotting Association.

The Commission was presented with a request from the United States Trotting Association to modify the threshold and recommended withdrawal times for clenbuterol and betamethasone. The Commission was also informed that the request had not been reviewed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (“ARCI”) scientific advisory committee, which the Commission relies on in establishing thresholds for medications. A motion was made to defer any decision on the request until ARCI had an opportunity to review and comment. The motion passed unanimously.

Regulations – Proposed.

The Commission was presented with two proposed regulations. The first would amend COMAR 09.10.01.64 by repealing the jockey fee schedule and replace it with language that would require the Commission to approve an agreement between the majority of horsemen and a majority of jockeys riding in Maryland. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request. The second amended regulation was COMAR 09.10.03.04, which currently restricts a horse from being treated 24 hours prior to the first race of the day in which the horse is entered to run. The amendment would change the restriction to 24 hours before the post time of the race in which the horse is entered, which is consistent with the national uniform rules. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Ratify 2019 Racing Dates.

By e-mail, the Commission was asked to approve the 2019 racing dates request from the Maryland Jockey Club, Ocean Downs and Prince George’s Racing Ventures, LLC, which included racing from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019. Included in that request were requests for the import and export of live races each found marketable as well as specific days of racing. Having been unanimously approved by e-mail, the Commission unanimously ratified its approval of the 2019 racing dates. Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins noted that Prince George’s Racing Ventures, LLC had not received approval to simulcast races in or out of Rosecroft for 2019 from the Maryland Standardbred Breeders and that without that approval Rosecroft would not be permitted to simulcast signals beginning January 1, 2019. Mr. Hopkins suggested that the Commission approve the Prince George’s Racing Venture, LLC request to import and export races contingent on an agreement being reached. A motion was made to approve and passed 8-1 with Commissioner Conrad Wayson voting against the motion. Sal Sinatra representing Prince George’s Racing Ventures, LLC assured the Commission that he was confident an agreement would be reached. (On December 21, 2018, an agreement was executed between the Maryland Standardbred Breeders and Prince George’s Racing Ventures, LLC extending their current agreement through December 31, 2020).

Backstretch Employees’ Pension Fund.

The Commission was presented with a request from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (MTHA) to increase the amount provided to the Backstretch Employees’ Pension Fund by an additional $250,000 over the previously approved $500,000 earlier in the year. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Maryland Jockey Injury Compensation Fund.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that the workers’ compensation policy for licensed jockeys had increased from $924,786 in 2018 to $950,211 for 2019 and that he was requesting the annual assessment on each licensed owner and trainer remain $100. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

2019 Maryland Standardbred Race fund Dates.

The Commission was presented with a request from the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund Advisory Committee with its 2019 racing dates. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Maryland Bred Race Fund.

The Commission was presented with a report from the Maryland Bred Race Fund Advisory Committee recommending the current percentage being paid out for owner, breeder and stallion awards remain the same for the first six months of 2019. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Maryland Jockey Club – Backstretch Improvements.

Sal Sinatra of the Maryland Jockey Club informed the Commission that the timeline for completion of projects presented to the Commission at its last meeting were expected to be completed on schedule. Chairman Algeo asked the public if anyone had any comments on the progress of the improvements and reiterated that the Commission would be expecting a progress report from the Maryland Jockey Club each and every month until the Commission was satisfied the improvements had been completed and any issues had been addressed.

Public Comments.

Gerry Brewster representing the Maryland State Fair introduced Joe Davies, who was responsible the new paddock at Timonium. Hearing no other public comments, the meeting was adjourned.

Next Commission Meeting.

The next Commission Meeting will be held on January 24, 2018 at 12:30 P.M. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland 20725.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director