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Minutes of Public Meeting - January 23, 2020

Commission Members Present:

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

Members Absent:

Michael Algeo
Thomas Winbrener

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 January 23, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park. Prior to beginning the meeting, Commissioner David Hayden informed the public of the passing of Chairman Mike Algeo’s brother and asked for a moment of silence on his behalf.

Introduction of Emmet Davitt.

Acting Chairman David Hayden welcomed newly appointed Commission Member Emmet Davitt to the Commission. Mr. Davitt thanked everyone for welcoming him and commented that he was honored to be part of the Commission.

Minutes – December 19, 2019

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its December 29, 2019 meeting and unanimously voted to approve the minutes as submitted.

Legislative Update.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission members with eight proposed legislative initiatives that could impact the Commission:

  1. HB 169 provides for sports wagering at casinos as well as Laurel, Pimlico and Timonium;
  2. HB 225 implements sports wagering;
  3. HB 266 provides for Timonium to receive their pro-rata share of the Racing Facility Renewal Account funds;
  4. HB 344 would permit a casino in Charles County;
  5. SB 4 would permit sports wagering at a casino only;  
  6. SB 58 authorizes a referendum for sports wagering at casinos as well as thoroughbred and harness tracks;
  7. SB 189 would make the act of practicing veterinary medicine unlawful; and
  8. SB 325 removes the requirement of a referendum to expand gaming.

      Commissioner Grecco made a motion to have the Commission write a letter to the Governor supporting all racetracks having sports wagering. The motion failed to receive a second.

Track Surface Report.

Sal Sinatra representing the Maryland Jockey Club (“MJC”) reported that the track surface was in good condition at Laurel Park. Mr. Sinatra advised that Track Superintendent Chris Bosley has been meeting with horsemen and addressing their concerns. Commissioner Konrad Wayson asked how decisions are made regarding the track surface and if the MJC communicated with the horsemen regarding those decisions.   Mr. Sinatra responded to Commissioner Wayson that concerns of the horsemen are being addressed and measurements of the track surface are consistently taken.  Mr. Sinatra further reported that Mick Peterson, a track surface expert, performs quarterly reviews, which are provided to the horsemen. David Richardson of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association commented that the horsemen meet with Mr. Bosley to discuss any track surface issues and confirmed that the horsemen are satisfied with the response of the MJC.

Maryland Jockey Club Update.

Having made comments under the Track Surface Report, Mr. Sinatra had no additional comments. Commissioner David Hayden commented that the new whip rule put in place by the Stewards earlier in the month has resulted in riders being more cognizant of the number of times they are using their whip.

Public Comments.

Crickett Goodall reported that Horse Industry Day in Annapolis on January 22nd was well attended and very successful.   Ms. Goodall further commented that she appreciated the Commission’s support as well as the public in making the day a success. 

Next Commission Meeting

The next Commission Meeting will be held on February 27, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director