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Minutes of Public Meeting - October 25, 2018

Commission Members Present:

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

Members Absent:

Ronald Thomas
Ernie Grecco

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 October 25, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland. Chairman Mike Algeo welcomed the public to the meeting and extended congratulations to Mike Hopkins, Executive Director of the Commission, for receiving the Maryland Horse Industry “Touch of Class” award on Maryland Million Day. Chairman Algeo also thanked Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club and Cricket Goodall, Executive Director of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, for an outstanding Maryland Million Day.

Minutes – September 20, 2018.

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting of September 20, 2018 and voted unanimously to approve them, with Commissioner Konrad Wayson abstaining due to his absence at the September meeting.

Regulations – Final approval.

J. Michael Hopkins, Executive Director of the Commission, presented the Commissioners with regulations for final approval that had been published for the required period of time in the Maryland Register and did not receive any public comments. The regulations presented for final approval were the following, COMAR, which repeals the use of certain horse shoes in turf races and increases the number of days a horse may not run outside of Maryland, if the horse is scratched from a race; .28 which allows the uncoupling of horses with commonality of ownership; and .88 which removes a requirement that a refund be made when a turf race is switched to the main track. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously moved the proposed regulations for final adoption. Mr. Hopkins also presented for final approval by the Commission regulations, .53 and .53-1, which changes the time a horse must qualify between races from 30 days to 45 days. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Ratify the Commission’s participation in the University of Kentucky Fatality Study.

The Commission was asked to ratify their previous electronic mail approval of a study being directed by the University of Kentucky examining fatal breakdowns, which already had approval from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen Association. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously ratified the request.

Maryland Jockey Club – Bet MJC.

The Commission was presented with a program called Bet MJC. The program uses computer analytics to determine the most probable winner of a race and is provided by Xpressbet to customers at the race track. The program is “geo fenced”, so that the program can only be utilized within the racing facility. After some discussion, the Commission unanimously approved its use at Laurel Park.

Satellite Simulcast Betting Permits.

The Commission was presented with a request to renew the Maryland Jockey Club’s permits for its seven Satellite Simulcast Betting facilities. Commissioner Tom Winebrener asked for data from the previous year regarding the performance by the different facilities, to which Mr. Hopkins indicated that he did not have the information with him, but that he would provide the information before the next meeting. Hearing no objection, the Commission renewed the permits.

2019 Racing Dates.

The Commission approved the Maryland State Fair’s request for 10 days of racing in its 2019 application and reminded the other track licensees that their applications for 2019 racing dates are required to be submitted prior to December 1, 2018.

Maryland Jockey Club – Backstretch Improvements.

At a meeting held on October 3, 2018 between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen (MTHA), Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) and the Chairman of the Racing Commission, Michael Algeo, the MTHA expressed their concerns with the Laurel Barn area improvements. As a result, Chairman Algeo instructed the MTHA to provide the Commission a written detail of their concerns to which the Commission would address. On October 5, 2018, the Commission received the MTHA list of priorities which included the following:

  1. A detailed timeline for all projects related to the completion and occupancy of Tent Barn #3 and Wash Barn #2. Noting that these barns have been incomplete for over two years and little to no progress has been witnessed on those two barns since the summer of 2016.
  2. A detailed listing of permits obtained from Anne Arundel County by Maryland Jockey Club for the resumption of construction and eventual occupancy of Tent Barn #3, Wash Barn #2 and Stick Barn #1. This listing should include any contingencies or prerequisites placed upon the Maryland Jockey Club for the occupancy of these barns.
  3. A detailed plan for maintenance on existing barns that includes the temporary relocation of horsemen and the complete refurbishment of those barns.
  4. A detailed plan to rectify, before this coming winter, the extreme cold conditions experienced in Tent Barns #1 and #2. The temperatures in these two barns are significantly colder in winter months than other barns at Laurel Park and include the frequent freezing of water buckets.
  5. A detailed plan to rectify the standing water and drainage issues throughout the backstretch.
  6. A detailed plan to rectify the significant number of potholes that exist in thoroughfares throughout the backstretch.
  7. A detailed plan, including timelines, for the installation of security cameras and smoke alarms throughout the backstretch

Chairman Algeo asked Sal Sinatra representing the Maryland Jockey Club to address the concerns of the MTHA. Mr. Sinatra addresses each issue in writing, which is attached to the minutes as appendix “A”. Upon completion of Mr. Sinatra’s comments, Chairman Algeo asked the MTHA representatives present, if they had any further comment to which they had none. Chairman Algeo advised Mr. Sinatra that these issues and other improvements being made to the stable area at Laurel Park would be an agenda item in the future and asked that he be prepared to report.

Public Comments.

Hearing no public comments, the meeting was adjourned.

Next Commission Meeting.

The next Commission Meeting will be held on December 13, 2018 at 12:30 P.M. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland 20725.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director