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Minutes of Public Meeting - October 24, 2019

Commission Members Present:

Mike Algeo
David Hayden
Thomas Bowman
Ernie Grecco
Tammy Lafferty
Tom Winebrener

Konrad Wayson

Members Absent:

Clarissa Coughlin

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 August 16, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. at October 24, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at Laurel Park.

Minutes – September 19, 2019
The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its September 19, 2019 meeting and unanimously voted to approve them. Commissioner Konrad Wayson abstained from voting, as he was not in attendance at the October meeting.

Rosecroft Request to Change its Live Racing Schedule.
J. Michael Hopkins, Executive Director of the Commission, advised the Commission that due to the construction on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the traffic delays, Rosecroft was requesting to change its live program from Sundays to Mondays. Commissioner Winebrener asked about the impact on handle due to switching days. Lisa Watts, representing Rosecroft, responded that it had been a long time since Rosecroft had run on Mondays, but the thought was that the Rosecroft signal could be more marketable on Mondays, since few tracks operate on Mondays. Hearing no objection, Chairman Algeo requested a motion to approve the request and the Commission unanimously approved the request to amend the Live Racing Schedule at Rosecroft from Sunday to Monday.

2020 Racing Dates.
Mr. Hopkins reported that he had received a request from the Cecil County Breeders, Maryland State Fair and Ocean Downs for their 2020 racing dates. Mr. Hopkins further commented that the Maryland Jockey Club and Rosecroft would present their requests to the Commission at the next meeting in November. Chairman Algeo requested a motion to approve the dates and the Commission unanimously approved the requests as follows:

Fair Hill (2 days) May 23, 2020 and September 5, 2020;

Maryland State Fair (10 days) August 28, 2020 through September 7, 2020 dark on Tuesday September 1, 2020; and

Ocean Downs January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, which included a request to import and export the races they find marketable throughout 2020. Mr. Hopkins further commented that Ocean Downs would apply for their live racing schedule at a future date after they negotiate a new contract with the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association.

Safety and Welfare Committee Report.
The Commission was provided with seventeen recommendations from the Safety and Welfare Committee. The recommendations were developed by the committee without dissent and mirrored a number of recommendations made during a meeting held at Delaware Park earlier in the month with representatives from 7 Mid-Atlantic Racing States. The Commission was advised that the 17 recommendations of the Committee would be policy changes or House Rules and not regulatory changes, with the exception of two proposals dealing with a horse’s medical records. The recommendations were read into the record by J. Michael Hopkins, Executive Director of the Commission, as follows:

1. Work(s) - If a horse has not run in 30 Days, the horse needs one at a ½ mile work.

First Time Starters need 3 works: 1 from the gate; 1 published; and 1 at a ½ mile within 30 days of entry. First time starters must have a gate card on file prior to entry time.

If a horse has not started in 90 days, the horse needs two works: one at a ½ mile and another within 30 days of running.

Horses that have been off for 180 days or longer will be required to work three times. 1 in front of a State Veterinarian and have a blood specimen pulled; 1 within 30 days of entry; and another at a ½ mile. A horse will not be allowed to enter until a practicing veterinarian signs off and the horse is approved by the State Veterinarian.

2YO- 3 works- 1 must be from gate with gate approval.

Trainers are required to inform the clocker the horse’s name that is going to work. Failure to report to the clocker may result in a fine and/or suspension by the stewards. Effective January 1, 2020.

2. Any horse vanned off during training or racing – Practicing veterinarian shall consult with State Veterinarian to discuss their diagnosis as to why the horse was unsound and sign off that the horse is sound enough to return to racing. The horse must also work for the State Veterinarian and have a blood specimen tested. Effective Immediately.

3. A horse observed to be lame by the State Veterinarian shall be placed on a “vets” list for a period of time to be determined by the State Veterinarian. A horse observed lame a second time 2nd time within 365 days of the first, shall be ineligible for 90 days and a horse observed a third time within 365 days shall no longer be eligible to run. The State Veterinarian shall have discretion based on the circumstance to modify this policy. Effective December 1, 2019.

4. Length of time between races – A horse shall be flagged for additional scrutiny if it is scheduled to run within 7 days of its last start. Effective Immediately. (Does not apply to Standardbreds).

5. Entry overrides – Horses entered on any “list” shall not be permitted to run until cleared by the State Veterinarian. A daily list of horses that requires an “override” will be created. Effective Immediately.

6. Transfer of Veterinary Records. Commission will make a regulatory change.

7. Intra articular injections – Restrict administration to 14 days before a horse can run. Create form for practicing veterinarian to complete on each joint injection and submit to State Veterinarian, who will place on the “vets” list for 14 days. A veterinarian found to violate this restriction shall be subject to disciplinary action by the stewards. For the purpose of counting days, the day on which the horse is treated shall be the first day. Effective December 1, 2019. (Does not apply to Standardbreds)

8. Bisphosphonates – Any horse found to have been treated with bisphosphonates shall be declared ineligible to run. A veterinarian found to have administered bisphosphonates to a horse shall have their racing license suspended for one year by the stewards. Effective Immediately.

9. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to be restricted from 24 hours to 48 hours before a race. It is anticipated that in December a new threshold will be forthcoming for phenylbutazone. As a result of this initiative, secondary thresholds for “stacking” will be eliminated and be subject to limit of detection. Penalties for violations will be reviewed with the expectation of an increase in the penalty. Waiting for threshold recommendations. Anticipate recommendations by December 2019.

10. Lasix administration shall be restricted to 4 hours before the horse’s scheduled post. A horse not meeting the 4 hour limit shall be scratched. Effective January 1, 2020.

11. A horse shall not work within 48 hours of being scratched for medical reasons. Effective Immediately.

12. Use of shock wave therapy procedures and reporting need further review.

13. Maidens 6 years old or older are not allowed to start. Effective January 1, 2020.

14. Horses entered are not permitted to leave the grounds. Effective immediately.

15. Schedule meeting with practicing vets.

16. Further discussion needed regarding veterinarians who do not normally treat horses at the track, but do enter the stable area.

17. Discussion also needed to include “training” centers or facilities where horses are trained shall be under the jurisdiction of the Maryland Racing Commission.

Proposed Regulations.
J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with the following proposed regulations:

COMAR adds a digital tattoo to the current thoroughbred regulations as a means of identifying a horse;

COMAR requires an owner to provide all medical records to a new owner within 7 days of a horse being claimed, sold or transferred;

COMAR added language to define a horse’s medical records;

COMAR 09.10.02. 25 would allow standardbred Judges to uncouple horses participating in special events; and

COMAR allows a Standardbred stallion to leave its registered location to go to another location in Maryland to have semen collected and then returned to the registered location the same day.

Chairman Algeo requested separate motions for each proposed regulation. The Commission voted unanimously to approve each proposed regulation.

Alan Rifkin - Maryland Jockey Club.
Alan Rifkin addressed the Commission on the proposed plan to renovate Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. Mr. Rifkin provided the Commission with a letter from Mayor Jack Young of Baltimore City addressed to the Governor and leadership of the State Legislature announcing the “historic” agreement made in principle between the City of Baltimore, Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Industry to preserve Pimlico and to keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. Mr. Rifkin also provided the Commission members with a capital investment plan along with an architects rendering of the proposed facilities. Mr. Rifkin reviewed the proposed projects for each facility. Mr. Rifkin commented that with the completion of this proposed project, Maryland could be the epicenter of racing for the whole country. Chairman Algeo thanked Mr. Rifkin for his time and efforts and agreed that racing was at a seminal moment.

Maryland Jockey Club – Update.
Sal Sinatra, representing the Maryland Jockey Club (“MJC”), reported that Maryland Million Day was successful. Mr. Sinatra also noted that parking, which that had been a problem in the past, was rectified. He further commented that the weather was good and it was a beautiful day for racing.

Mr. Sinatra further commented that the policies and house rules introduced earlier at the meeting by J. Michael Hopkins had the support of the MJC. Mr. Sinatra also wanted to thank Alan Foreman for bringing the entire Mid-Atlantic region together to discuss these issues at Delaware Park.

Public Comments.
April Smith, representing Friends of Pimlico, expressed her concerns regarding tearing down the barns and relocating the track at Pimlico. Ms. Smith provided the Commission with a letter entitled “The New Pimlico Needs the Old”.

Andy Cashman, representing the Maryland State Fair, commented that the State Fair had just completed a successful sale earlier in October and that a new restaurateur is operating at the OTB. He encouraged everyone to come out and try the new venue.

Next Commission Meeting.
The next Commission Meeting will be held on November 21, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director