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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May 2021 Newsletter Available

newsletter2021 5The May 2021 edition of the Horsemen's Newsletter is now online and available for download. To view this edition click herearrow

The Horsemen's Newsletter is published monthly by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and is mailed to licensed owners and trainers in the state of Maryland.


More details announced on Laurel surface project, training

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 an update on the Laurel 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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Update provided on Laurel dirt course project

The results of an examination of the substructure under the base of the Laurel Park dirt course will play a role in the timeline for completion of the rebuild of the surface, officials said April 23 during a Zoom meeting organized by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

The Maryland Jockey Club received emergency approval to move the remaining two weeks of the Laurel spring meet to Pimlico Race Course, which was scheduled to open May 6. Three racing days at Laurel was lost before Pimlico opened April 22. The meet concludes May 31.

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Federal agencies free up 22,000 additional H-2B visas

The United States Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Labor have agreed to offer 22,000 additional H-2B visas to employers for the second half of the federal fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2021.

The visas are used by employers, such as racehorse trainers, who seek seasonal guest workers. They are capped at 66,000 annually, with an even split of 33,000 available for each half of the federal government's fiscal year.

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Laurel Park resurfacing project begins

The reconstruction of the Laurel Park dirt surface began in earnest April 17 as heavy machinery began removing the cushion from the base from the rail out.

Maryland Jockey Club Track Superintendent Chris Bosley said that over the next several days the cushion will be removed and the base will be inspected to determine if there are any deficiencies. Bosley said the MJC is in the process of locating base material from New York that was used to successfully rebuild the bases at Saratoga Race Course and the nearby Oklahoma Training Track.

“We hope to have enough cushion removed (April 18) to start the base work,” Bosley said.

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