Backstretch Pension Signups Going Virtual Again in 2021

Virtual sign-ups for the Maryland Backstretch Pension Plan are again an option this year because of ongoing physical-distancing requirements issued by state government officials because of COVID-19.

Sign-ups will be available in April, and the deadline to sign up is June 1, 2021.

Horsemen employed in the care of horses on the backstretch at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course or the Fair Hill Training Center, including trainers, are eligible to participate. However, the eligible employee must have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours during 2020 and provide documentation to that effect (with a W-2 or 1099 form, or tax return).

Benefits become available when the employee reaches the age of 65, or at age 55 with 25 years of service. More about about the program including qualifications is available at:

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors earlier this year continued to affirm its support for the Backstretch Pension Program when it approved $900,000 in pension funding for the program. Eligible participants should follow these steps to enroll in the program: Fully complete the registration form by clicking this online link:

If you need assistance filling out this form in English or Español, call Diana Pinones at 410-902-6844, Tom LaMarra at (859) 492-8365 or Jessica Hammond at (301) 776-0404.

You must submit a W2, 1099 or tax return documenting the earnings you reported on the registration form. You may do this by emailing a PDF or a photo of the tax documents to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; texting a photo of the tax documents to (443) 805-1995; or dropping forms off at the MTHA Racetrack Office at Laurel.

Call the MTHA office at 410-902-6844 with any questions.

You are not enrolled in the program until you receive confirmation of your successful registration.At this time you will also receive a current statement if you have been enrolled in the plan for at least two consecutive years.

The following categories of licensees are not eligible to participate: owners (as opposed to owner/trainers), security, maintenance, valets, parking, mutuels, vendors, jockeys, or miscellaneous.


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