Pimlico Viability Study: The Assessment Has Just Begun

The first phase of a Maryland Stadium Authority study into the viability of Pimlico Race Course continuing as host of the Preakness Stakes and other racing and non-racing events revealed there’s far more work to be done before a decision is made.

And the future of the historic facility apparently lies with “leadership” developing a consensus on how to proceed. The study, however, suggested there is hope that a revitalized Pimlico could be profitable.

The MSA, which is responsible for the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards stadium among other projects, released the report Feb. 24, more than a week before its next board meeting.

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MTHA, MJC Make Condition Book Changes; Maryland Million Adds Bonuses

The MTHA has worked with Maryland Jockey Club officials to make changes in the condition book designed to reduce the number of race categories and give dirt races a better chance of filling when turf racing begins at Laurel Park in early spring.

The MTHA Purse Committee, along with MJC President and General Manager Sal Sinatra and Racing Secretary Georganne Hale, agreed to the following changes that will take effect with the April condition book.

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MRC Report: February 23, 2017

The Maryland Racing Commission has developed statutory language that will allow it to adopt updates and changes to model rules—most recently the one on out-of-competition testing—as they are approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

The MRC, which held its monthly meeting Feb. 23, falls under state Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation. MRC Executive Director Mike Hopkins said the department suggested the commission make written modifications that will allow it to avoid having to repeatedly submit new rules for approval.

“It makes (the process) much simpler,” Hopkins said. “We asked for emergency status while the rule is (reviewed).”

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Excitement Building For Fantasy Owners Day On March 18

Make plans to be a part of something special when the Maryland racing industry hosts its first Fantasy Owners Day Saturday, March 18, at Laurel Park.

The event, which features a full day of activities including a live racing program with five stakes, is sponsored by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and Capital Bank.

The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with an opportunity to watch horses train on the track with free coffee and donuts available. At 10:30 a.m. in the Ruffian Room on the second floor of the clubhouse, there will be a seminar featuring some of the region's racehorse and breeding partnership managers as well as others who will offer industry insights.

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Lawmaker Floats Amendment on Bowie Training Center Property

A Maryland lawmaker has offered a legislative amendment that would make the Bowie Training Center eligible for racetrack capital improvement funds generated by video lottery terminals at the state’s casinos.

The amendment also would strike language regarding condemnation of the Bowie property, which is owned by the Maryland Jockey Club but had fallen into disrepair since training ended there in the spring of 2015.

Democratic Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith, during a Feb. 15 hearing by the House Ways and Means Committee, said her amendment would add the Bowie Training Center to the list of facilities eligible to use the Racetrack Facilities Renewal Account, which is funded by 1% of VLT revenue. Prince George’s County, the City of Bowie, and local residents said it is imperative the historic piece of property be regularly maintained given it serves as a gateway to the city.

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Bill Whitescarver, Designer of MTHA Pension Plan, Dies at 81

William “Bill” Whitescarver, who designed and launched the backstretch pension plan for Maryland Thoroughbred horsemen in 1987, died Feb. 6. He was 81.

Whitescarver, a United States Army veteran, served as vice president of investments for Chapin Davis Inc., a financial services firm in Baltimore, and was a member of the company’s board of directors. Up until his death, he continued to manage the investments of MTHA pension plan which was created to provide retirement income to backstretch workers as a supplement to Social Security.

Whitescarver, a Baltimore County resident who was educated at the University of Baltimore, also served on other boards in the retirement services industry.

“Bill was a first-class guy who truly cared about the racing community and the people who work on the backstretch,” MTHA Executive Director David Richardson remarked. “The pension plan was his baby, he told me often that he considered it his life’s work.”

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