July 2017 Newsletter Available

newsletter2017 7The July 2017 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.


6/23/17 Board Meeting Wrap-up

The MTHA board of directors June 23 approved requests to schedule several more Virginia-bred races at Laurel Park this year and to assist the Maryland State Fair at Timonium in increasing overnight purses during its seven-day meet.

Maryland has been hosting Virginia-bred stakes on its turf course to assist owners and breeders who have had no regular Thoroughbred meet since the closure of Colonial Downs. The MTHA board was asked to consider adding another five races that would be sprinkled over a six-month period at Laurel.

MTHA president Tim Keefe noted purses for Virginia-bred races are funded by the Virginia Equine Alliance and not the Maryland purse account.

“It doesn’t cost us anything to run the races, and we get the (revenue from pari-mutuel handle on the races),” Keefe said. “One thing it does cost us—maybe—are races for Maryland horses on those days. But there are plenty of Virginia horsemen who support us throughout the year.”

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Ballot set for 2017 election

Twenty-nine individuals, including 14 incumbents, are seeking the 15 seats on the MTHA board of directors in this year’s election.

MTHA directors serve three-year terms. The board has seven owner directors, seven trainer directors, and one at-large seat filled by the highest vote-getter of the remaining candidates.

The MTHA board held its annual meeting June 23 at Laurel Park. There were no nominations from the floor, and no petitions were submitted. The following are the candidates for this year by category, listed in alphabetical order:

Owner director: Christine Bricker, Edward Buxbaum, Ellen Charles, Daniel Eubanks, Linda Gaudet, JoAnn Hayden, Michael Horning, Larry Johnson, Mark Lapidus, Robert Manfuso, Stewart Nickel, Stephen O’Neill, Charles “Chip” Reed, Lawrence Smith, and Louis Ulman.

Bricker, Charles, Gaudet, Hayden, Horning, Johnson, Manfuso and Reed are incumbents.

Trainer director: Ferris Allen, Dale Capuano, Claudio Gonzalez, Tim Keefe, Kieron Magee, Jonathan Maldonado, Hugh McMahon, Graham Motion, Gina Rosenthal, John Jerry Robb, Phil Schoenthal, Mark Shuman, Mike Trombetta and Katy Voss.

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More H2B visas hopefully on the way

The American Horse Council in an industry memo June 23 said the United States Department of Homeland Security expects to begin issuing another round of H2B visas in late July.

Additional H2B visas, which are critical to the horseracing industry in regard to finding backstretch workers, were included in a congressional budget bill that became law in the spring. Issuance of additional visas, however, is up to the discretion of the DHS.

Published reports have indicated the department plans to issue more visas, though it declined to say when and how many. The cap of 66,000 was met within the first 30 days of 2017, which created a hardship for horse racing and various agricultural industries that rely on seasonal help.

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Beyond The Wire Program Gets Rolling

Beyond The Wire, Maryland racing’s expanded aftercare program, had a successful soft launch Preakness Stakes week and through the end of May had taken in three racehorses from three different trainers.

Applications were approved for Charlie Bravo, a 5-year-old City Zip horse trained by Lacey Gaudet; D’Humerus, a 4-year-old D’Funnybone gelding trained by John Hartsell Jr.; and Smart Dixie Jones, a 5-year-old Smarty Jones gelding trained by Valora Testerman. All three raced most recently in Maryland, which is one of the criteria for entering the racehorse retirement program.

“It went really well,” said Jessica Hammond, administrator of Beyond The Wire and counseling administrator for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “People have been asking questions about the program, and trainers in Maryland have been helping to promote it. Some seem surprised at how fast we can go through the process and get a horse moved to one of our Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited facilities.”

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Maryland Racing Commission Ratifies Preakness Bonus

The Maryland Racing Commission May 25 ratified the parameters of a Preakness bonus for the connections of Maryland-bred or -sired horses that finish first, second or third in the second leg of the Triple Crown. The bonus was created via legislation last year.

The bonus wasn’t up for grabs this year given the lack of a Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired runner in the Preakness.

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