Minutes of Public Meeting - May 3, 2022
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 May 3, 2022. 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 took a roll call of the Commission members and confirmed that Commissioners Ernie Grecco, Tom Winebrenner and Clarissa Coughlin were absent. Dr. Tom Bowman and Tammy Lafferty participated by phone or computer, with all remaining members participating in person.
Minutes – April 5, 2022.
The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting on April 5, 2022 and voted to approve the minutes. Commissioner Konrad Wayson abstained from the vote, as he was not present for the meeting on April 5, 2022.
Proposed Regulation COMAR 09.10.02.33.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins advised the Commission that the standardbred industry had developed amendments to the current Whip Rule. Mr. Hopkins further explained that the proposed regulation would make the use of the whip more restrictive than the current regulations. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the amended regulation.
Maryland Jockey Club – Change of Racing Dates.
The Commission was presented with a request from the Maryland Jockey Club (“MJC”) to transfer race days from Pimlico to Laurel and from Laurel to Pimlico. Specifically, the request was to transfer the Pimlico Summer Meet from August 1, 2022 through August 25 and August 30, 2022 to Laurel as well as to transfer the Laurel Fall Meet from September 6, 2022 through September 25, 2022 to Pimlico. The Commission was advised that the reason for the transfer was that a music festival had been scheduled to be held at Pimlico on August 6 and 7, 2022. Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins further advised that the request to transfer had been advertised as required. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests to transfer.
Having approved the transfers, the Commission was asked to approve the specifics of the Laurel Summer Meet and the Pimlico Fall Meet, which included, but not limited to, live racing on a Friday through Sunday basis, intertrack wagering and simulcasting. Hearing no objection, the Commission approved the specifics of each race meeting.
Maryland Jockey Club Stakes Schedule.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with a request from The Maryland Jockey Club for their stakes schedule for August through December, 2022. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.
Maryland Jockey Club Update.
Mike Rogers representing the MJC reported that it had signed an agreement with their union on May 1, 2022. Mr. Rogers also reported that the MJC had taken 3 days to do routine maintenance on the track surface at Pimlico and were in the process of preparing for the Preakness.
Ocean Downs Raceway – Ocean High Five Minimum Wager.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins asked the Commission to approve a request from Ocean Downs that would allow Ocean Downs to offer a minimum wager of .20 cents on their Ocean High Five. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.
Ocean Downs Updated Capital Plan.
Bobbi Sample requested approval for the Ocean Downs updated capital improvement plan. Ms. Sample explained that she was advised that an updated plan needed to be approved prior to submitting specific requests for reimbursement. Ms. Sample continued that the plan included expenditures from 2018 through 2021 and future improvements for 2022. Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins explained to the Commission members that during the 2020 legislative session the State Government Article was amended to allow tracks to submit updated capital improvement plans that included any improvements made on or after January 1, 2018. Mr. Hopkins further explained that the request to approve the plan was not for any specific requests for reimbursement, but general approval of the plan. Mr. Hopkins explained that any request for specific reimbursement would be made after a separate request is made and those requests are reviewed by a Certified Public Accountant and deemed to be in accordance with the requirements of the law and regulations. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.
Ocean Downs Update.
Bobbi Sample reported that Ocean Downs, which is owned by Churchill Downs, will be hosting a number of activities on Derby Day, including the Derby Dog Walk, where dogs are dressed up and judged for best costume and a Derby hat contest, amongst other entertainment activities. Ms. Sample also reported that the track has been reconditioned and Ocean Downs would be allowing horses to be trained on the new surface in the coming weeks.
Bill Reightler representing the Maryland State Fair reported that the 2 year old in training sale had cataloged 200 more horses than were sold in 2021 and that they anticipate breaking a sales record.
Next Commission Meeting.
June 7, 2022, at Laurel Park starting at 12:30 P.M.
/s/Michael J. Algeo