Plans for the transition of training operations from Laurel Park to the Maryland State Fairgrounds at Timonium and Pimlico Race Course were mostly hammered out at a logistics meeting held May 19.


Anyone needing shipping out of Laurel Park to Pimlico or Timonium must contact Andy Simoff at 302-740-7290 for their needs.

MJC Race Day Shuttles will continue to be handled by Joe Sansosti, who can be reached at 301-266-0914.

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MJC summer meet stakes schedule totals almost $2 million

The Maryland Jockey Club will offer almost $2 million in stakes purses for its summer meet, including six events for Maryland-bred or -sired horses.

The 20 stakes will be packaged to create five big-event programs from June 13 through Aug. 21. Eleven stakes are scheduled for the turf with nine on the dirt. Six of the dirt stakes are part of the Mid-Atlantic Championships Series (MATCH), which will be held in Maryland and Virginia this year beginning May 14-15 at Pimlico Race Course.

Summer meet stakes purses total $1.95 million, with $450,000 of that for the Maryland-restricted stakes.

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Medstar To Administer Covid-19 Vaccines At Laurel Park, Pimlico

MedStar Health, in conjunction with the Maryland Horsemen’s Health System, will be visiting Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course Monday, May 10, to administer the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations to members of the backstretch community.

Dr. Kelly Ryan of MedStar Health, which provides the physicians for the Horsemen’s Health System, arranged for the vaccine allotment through the help of the Maryland Department of Health and Dr. Mark Martin as well as Dr. Athol Morgan, a cardiologist and Thoroughbred racehorse owner. The vaccines were secured through the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force, which works with Maryland healthcare providers on COVID-19 vaccination efforts for underserved, vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.

Ryan then worked with MedStar Health to provide the on-site vaccinations at the two tracks.

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Laurel Surface Project: Horse Relocation Plan In The Works

The Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association are working on a plan to relocate horses stabled at Laurel Park to Pimlico Race Course and the Maryland State Fair at Timonium in order to expedite and properly complete the rebuilding of the Laurel dirt surface.

The relocation plan was part of the latest update on the Laurel surface project during an April 30 Zoom meeting hosted by the MTHA. The project entails examination of the substructure and necessary repairs, replacement of the limestone base, and the addition of new cushion material.

“Unfortunate as it is, the best way to proceed is to move the horse population after the Preakness out of Laurel,” said Aidan Butler, Chief Operating Officer for The Stronach Group (1/ST RACING). “The main benefit is the track crew will not be limited. The optimum would be working from dawn to dusk every day.”

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MTHA, MJC Text Systems Will Provide Updates

Horsemen, their employees, and other members of the backstretch community are encouraged to follow the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Jockey Club text message systems. Training schedules at Laurel Park could change on a daily basis and this will be the primary method of communication.

To receive texts from the MTHA simply text MTHA to 313131.

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Pension Deadline Less Than A Month Away

Virtual sign-ups for the Maryland Backstretch Pension Plan are underway, with a June 1, 2021, deadline to sign up. 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.

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).

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