Michael Horning’s family has been actively involved in breeding and racing horses in Maryland for more than 40 years. His late father, the breeder-owner Larry Sr., served on the MTHA board as an owner representative, while his brother, Larry Jr., has been a licensed Maryland trainer for about 30 years.
Horning is married to Debbie (Komlo) Horning, daughter of longtime Maryland trainer William Komlo, and they race their horses as M and D Stable, the first initials of their names, as a way of espousing their roots in Maryland racing. They live in Potomac and have three grown children.
M and D Stable purchased its first horse at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2005, and its runners include the stakes-placed 2009 Preakness contender Tone It Down and the stakes winner Do It for Don. The Hornings have six horses in training, two broodmares and four young horses. Excluding the broodmares, eight of their other 10 horses are Maryland-breds, and all eight are offspring of their two broodmares.
A graduate of John Carroll University with a degree in accounting, Horning is a CPA who became audit senior manager at Touche Ross. For the past 23 years, he has been the chief financial officer at two different property and casualty insurance companies. He is currently serving his first term as MTHA Director being elected in 2011 and is also co-chair of the Finance Committee.
Horning said he’s proud to have been a member of the MTHA board that struck the 10-year agreement with track operators, avoiding the annual anxiety over whether there would be racing in Maryland the next year. While much work remains, he said, he and other newer board members will continue to lobby the board for more openness and better communication on issues that affect MTHA members.
Asked the No. 1 challenge facing Maryland racing, he said: “Attempts to divert the legislated slots revenue away from the Thoroughbred racing industry to other government programs. As we have seen in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states where gaming revenues are an important part of the horse-racing industry, changing economic and political forces have targeted funds that were legislatively designated for our industry to other politically motivated uses.”