Minutes of Public Meeting - January 3, 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 January 3, 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 Commissioner Konrad Wayson was absent, but all other Commissioner members were either present at Laurel or participating by phone or computer.
Minutes – November 1, 2022.
The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting on November 1, 2022 and voted unanimously to approve them.
NYRA Bets – Ratify E-mail Poll from November 14, 2022.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins advised that on November 14, 2022, the Commission approved the Caesars Race Book platform as a marketing affiliate of NYRA Bets, which would be providing all technical assistance. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously ratified the November 14, 2022 e-mail poll.
Maryland Bred Fund – January 1, 2023, through June 30, 2023.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that he had received a letter from the Maryland Bred Race Fund recommending that the current percentages for the Breeder Bonus, Stallion Bonus and the Breeder Bonus for Maryland sired and bred Maidens remain the same for the period between January 1, 2023, and June 30, 2023. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.
Backstretch Employees’ Pension Fund.
The Commission had received a request from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association to allocate up to one million dollars in 2023 to the Backstretch Employees’ Pension Fund. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.
Maryland Jockey Injury Compensation Fund, Inc 2023 Assessment.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins asked the Commission to approve a $100.00 assessment for each thoroughbred owner and trainer applying for a license for 2023 to assist in the payment for the workers’ compensation policy in place for all licensed jockeys. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins explained to the Commission that the 5th Circuit had ruled that HISA was unconstitutional. Therefore, the Federal Trade Commission had refused to approve the medication rules submitted by HISA and had not taken any further action until there was clarification on the status of HISA. Mr. Hopkins advised that the 6th Circuit was also hearing a case on the Constitutionality of HISA. Mr. Hopkins advised that the omnibus spending package approved by Congress had language added to give the FTC oversight over HISA, which might clarify the Constitutional issue. Mr. Hopkins further stated that even assuming that HISA was found to be Constitutional, it would be mid-March 2023, at the earliest, before any of the proposed rule changes could be put in place. Mr. Hopkins also commented that he and counsel, Eric London, had been working on the Voluntary Agreement with HISA to implement the Anti-Doping and Medication Control program.
Maryland Jockey Club Update.
Mike Rogers representing the Maryland Jockey Club reported that the MJC had implemented a restricted time for works and training during the early morning hours. Mr. Rogers reported that due to these measures and others, the catastrophic injury rate for 2022 was the lowest in 14 years. Mike Rogers also reported that Rosecroft ended the year with a 7% increase in handle over 2021 and set a new world record on Potomac Pace night for a 5/8 mile track. He further advised that live racing returns to Rosecroft on January 19, 2023.
Ocean Downs Update.
Bobbi Sample reported that Ocean Downs had completed all their capital projects in 2022 and that Ocean Downs was in the process of planning their 2023 race meet.
10 Year Agreement.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that the thoroughbred industry had agreed to extend the 10 Year Agreement through January 31, 2023 to give all parties additional time to negotiate.
Cricket Goodall of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association advised that there would be a reception in Annapolis on February 14, 2023 to meet the legislators and promote the horse industry.
Next Commission Meeting.
February 7, 2023, at Laurel Park Race starting at 12:30 P.M.
/s/ Michael Algeo