June/July 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 4The June / July 2015 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.

May 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 4The May 2015 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.

Horsemen Bid Farewell To Bowie

Bowie 05As trainer Linda Gaudet went about the business of taking down walls of photographs that tell the history of her life and that of her husband, Eddie, and their children at the Bowie Training Center, the emotions were bittersweet.

“We’re excited about the move,” said Gaudet, who has stabled horses at the center for nearly 43 years, with her husband there many years before that.  “But in a way, it is agonizing.  It’s been two weeks of not sleeping and I’m not sure the car won’t come here all on its own when I go to work [at Laurel Park].

“Both my kids were raised here.  They were home-schooled here.  We’ve been in this barn close to 30 years. It was new when we first moved in and it was a nice barn at that time. There are a lot of memories here. Lacey [her daughter who is also a trainer] said she was going to go to Wal-Mart and get a bunch of frames for all these pictures so we can put them up in our new place, but a lot of them will come home.”

Gaudet and all the other horsemen, some of whom have stabled their horses at the Bowie Training Center for up to half a century, have been slowly moving out of the 101-year-old facility during the last few months. The last horses shipped out Tuesday, April 28.

“I’ve been here a long time,” said Magill, 49. “Ten years; And I used to come here for the races with my dad when I was 9 or 10 years old.  There’s sadness to be going, but when you’re over there [at Laurel Park], it is exciting.  Bowie, well, it is time to go. It was getting a little run-down.”

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Excitement High at Pimlico

Pimlico Turf 2015When horse racing fans at Pimlico Race Course turn their eyes to the new high-definition television screens to watch a race they no longer have to squint. And when they look at those screens to check the post positions or minutes to the next race they no longer have to search frantically to find the information, thanks to the new clearly designed graphics.

Those are two of the changes that have come to the track this spring and created a buzz and an air of excitement at Old Hilltop.

With changes at the track and some increased advertising, attendance is up and so is the handle, said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, which owns the Maryland racetracks.

“We’ve not gone all out yet with our advertising,” he said. “We’re just getting started. We don’t want to over-market. Once we have some serious renovations done, we’ll market more. We want people who come to enjoy the experience and tell others about it. That’s the best advertising we can get.”

Ritvo said fans “aren’t coming in droves” just yet, but those who are watching the races at Pimlico have indicated they like what they’re seeing – the high-definition televisions and the new graphic designs, which are like the ones being used at Gulfstream Park and other Stronach Group tracks.  The consistency among the tracks is creating a familiarity for customers, with clear, easily read information. 

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Ritvo said. “We’ve seen a lot of customers praising us for the changes we’ve made. The changes we’re making are long overdue. People are telling us they love the new screens, love the high-definition and like the graphics.

“We think the sport is very visual and now the high-definition pictures are much clearer – it pops and makes a really good visual.”

Ritvo pointed out the Sports Palace at Pimlico also has seen renovation that is about better visuals.

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April 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 4The April 2015 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.

State Agency Proposes Cuts To Racing Funds

scissors cutting dollar

With newly elected Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly working to wipe out spending deficits with this year’s budget, the Maryland horse racing industry has come under the eye of the Department of Legislative Services.

The DLS, which is trying to find ways to cut spending in some areas in order to help the General Assembly restore funding in others, has proposed a 10 percent cut to the Purse Dedication Account and the Racetrack Facility Renewal Account (RFRA) as part of the state’s Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) of 2015.

After much hard work by the MTHA, the Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, the House Appropriations Committee, in consultation with the House Ways and Means Committee as well as the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee, rejected the proposed cuts and thereby maintained the current levels of funding for the industry.

Although the Hogan administration also indicated opposition to the DLS plan, the battle isn’t over. The MTHA’s longtime lobbyist, D. Robert Enten, explained that although unlikely, the cuts could reappear during a conference committee, composed of members of the House and the Senate,when they “iron out the differences in the BRFA.”

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