The October 2014 edition of the Horsemen's Newsletter is now online and available for download. To view this edition click here
The Horsemen's Newsletter is published monthly by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and is mailed to each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.
To help horsemen who want to improve their English skills, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in conjunction with Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Fund will be offering two free 10-week English as a Second Language courses beginning in October. One course will be on Sunday evenings and the other on Tuesday evenings. Both will be in the Recreation Room at Laurel Park.
Taught by Esthermaria Esquina, currently an adjunct faculty member at Baltimore City Community College and Montgomery College in Silver Spring, the courses will each be three hours a week, from 5 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., and will include a 15 minute dinner break.
The first Sunday class will begin Oct. 12, while the first Tuesday class will start Oct. 14. The target size for each class is 10 students, so space is limited.
“My first goal in our first class is to get to know the students and understand their needs,” said Esquina, who has been teaching adults since 2007. “I know they will have various levels and various goals. From there I will go ahead and help them achieve those goals.
“The course is designed to help them acquire and improve their ability to communicate their needs. I want the students to realize they have the ability to speak, write and read [the English language].”
Registration is open to all horsemen on a first come, first serve basis. Though classes are free, students must pay a $20 deposit at signup. The deposit will be refunded upon successful completion of the course.
Students must register for either the Sunday or Tuesday class, but, if necessary, will be permitted to switch days as often as needed on a case-by-case basis with the permission of the instructor during the 10-week sessions.
To register, prospective students must contact Diana Pinones in the MTHA’s Laurel Park office and fill out a registration form. The registration deadline is Oct. 8.
The MTHA/MHAF will host a to-be-determined class completion ceremony, most likely at the MTHA Christmas Party.
The election of trainer Tim Keefe as only the third President in Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association history, coupled with the election of seven new members to the MTHA’s Board of Directors appears to signal a new, more inclusive direction for MTHA leadership. After being elected President, Keefe was excited about the organization’s future.
“I think the new Board is very energetic,” he said. “Everyone is looking forward to adding their own input and is anxious to get started.”
The Sept. 4 meeting - at which Officers were elected - was the first since the Board of Directors was chosen in an election which saw unprecedented voting with over 25 percent of the MTHA membership casting a ballot.
Joining Keefe on the Officers roster is founding member Linda Gaudet and R. Larry Johnson as Vice Presidents, as well as Michael Horning as Treasurer.
The Officer positions aren’t ceremonial. Each will oversee most of the functions of the Association. Gaudet will head a Committee tasked with overseeing all racing and welfare related issues. Johnson will head a Committee in charge of oversight of the relations between industry stakeholders. Horning will manage financial duties related to the internal finance and governance of the Association.
Keefe replaces outgoing President Richard J. Meyer, who served in this capacity since 2012. Meyer replaced Richard Hoffberger, who had held the position since the Organization’s founding in 1987.
“I very much appreciate the leadership and service of past Presidents Meyer and Hoffberger,” remarked Keefe. “I look forward to our new direction which builds upon a strong foundation of representing horsemen for the past 27 years.”
Keefe is one of Maryland’s most successful trainers, having arrived on the scene in 1993. Since then, he has mapped the careers of some of the best horses based in Maryland including Eighttofastocatch, Celtic Innis, Red’s Round Table, Frisky Thunder, Anarex and Goferitstutz.
“I think they might have elected me as a middle-of-the-road guy who sees all sides of the business,” Keefe said.
But Johnson, a Board member for the past three years and the newly elected Vice President, who describes himself as a “very outspoken critic” of past Boards, said there is another reason for Keefe’s election.
“Yes, he’s demonstrated that he’s a hardworking person who is receptive to change and to better cooperation between horsemen and breeders,” Johnson said. “But I think there is more to it than that. He’s a person who has demonstrated a sincere interest in making things better.”
“Making things better” seems to be the underlying building block for this Board as it moves forward.