Minutes of Public Meeting - April 4, 2023
Commission Members Present:
Staff Present Representing the Maryland Racing Commission:J. Michael Hopkins
Eric B. London
Assistant Attorney General
In accordance with §3-302, General Provisions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Maryland Racing Commission (“Commission”) met in person and by conference call in open session at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park on April 4, 2023. Prior to the meeting, Chairman Michael Algeo informed the public that their phones or computers should be muted, but he would give the public the opportunity to address the Commission during Public Comments. At the start of the meeting, Chairman Algeo confirmed that all Commissioner members were either present at Laurel or participating by phone or computer.
Minutes –March 7, 2023.
The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting on March 7, 2023, and voted unanimously to approve them.
HISA/HIWU Voluntary Agreement.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins asked the Commission members to ratify an e-mail poll taken on March 24, 2023, approving the Voluntary Agreement between the Maryland Racing Commission and HISA for the balance of calendar year 2023. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously ratified the e-mail poll.
Maryland Bred Fund Annual Yearling Show Report.
J. Michael Hopkins presented a report to the Commission that demonstrated the allocation of funds by the Maryland Horse Breeders for the Annual Yearling Show. Hearing no objection, the Commission accepted the report as presented.
The Commission was asked to approve the annual Preakness Bonus distribution if a Maryland Bred horse should win the Preakness. Hearing no objection, the Commission approved the request.
Maryland Jockey Club Requests.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with a request from the Maryland Jockey Club to offer a future “win” wager on the Preakness starting on April 28, 2023 and closing on May 6, 2023 with a takeout rate of 18%. In addition, the Maryland Jockey Club was also seeking approval of two separate Pick 5 wagers on Friday May 19 and on Saturday May 20, 2023. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests.
Maryland Jockey Club Update.
Mike Rogers, representing the Maryland Jockey Club, reported that the track repairs at Laurel were completed and that the ongoing conversations with the horsemen regarding revenue sharing were positive and progressing.
Ocean Downs for its 2023 Race Meet.
The Commission members were presented with a request from Ocean Downs for their 2023 race meeting beginning May 28, 2023, with 48 days of live racing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays ending on September 6, 2023. Hearing no objection, the Commission approved the request. The Commission was also notified that if conditions allowed, Ocean Downs would make the track available for training beginning April 29 through August 30 from 7:00 A.M. until 12 P.M.
Ocean Downs Capitol Investment Plan.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented an updated Capital Investment Plan for Ocean Downs that had been approved by Churchill Downs Inc. for 2023. Mr. Hopkins explained that the Commission was not being asked to approve any budgeted expenditures presented in the plan at this time.
Ocean Downs Update.
Bobbi Sample reported that Ocean Downs had completed a contract with the horsemen through March of 2028. Ms. Sample also advised that Ocean Downs was still negotiating with the breeders.
Chairman Algeo thanked Commissioners Tom Bowman and David Hayden for their service to the Commission. Cricket Goodall commented that the Maryland Horse Breeders were also included in the talks between the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Ms. Goodall also thanked David Hayden and Dr. Bowman for their service to the Commission. Frank Vespe, from the Racing Biz, advised that he had launched a radio show on 1570 AM that will be a platform for horse racing. Bill Marlowe from the Maryland State Fair reported that the State Fair had sold over $37 million dollars of two-year old horses at their last sale. He further advised that the State Fair is in the process of redoing their racing surface.
Next Commission Meeting.
May 2, 2023, at Laurel Park Race starting at 12:30 P.M.
/s/ Michael Algeo