Maintenance work will alter Laurel Park training schedule

Weather permitting, the training schedule at Laurel Park will be altered the last week of March to accommodate maintenance on the main track, the Maryland Jockey Club said.

The project involves patch work, which will require two to three days to settle; MJC Acting President Mike Rogers said the area is located just before the sixteenth pole in the homestretch. The track maintenance crew also will remove the cushion off the outside portion on the surface and begin adding clay to prepare it for warmer weather.

The MJC plans the following schedule: No training Monday and Tuesday, March 27-28; galloping only the outside of the track Wednesday, March 29; and a return to normal training Thursday, March 30. The MJC will notify horsemen of any changes in the scheduled maintenance.

Renaissance Champions Awards Winners Announced

Larry Johnson, Brittany Russell and Jevian Toledo were voted the top owner, trainer and jockey in the 2022 Renaissance Champions Awards, which were announced from Feb. 27-March 4 in advance of the April 14 awards dinner. On the equine side, Laurel Park-based Fille d’Esprit took down three Maryland-bred championships for older mare, sprinter and Horse of the Year.

The Renaissance Champions Awards were created to recognize the best of Maryland racing and breeding from the previous year. This year, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association added five equine awards to recognize top performers based in Maryland but not necessarily bred in the state. The MTHA earlier announced its Grooms of the Year for 2023: Martin Haiber at Laurel and Ricardo Martinez at Pimlico Race Course.

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Kreimer New MJC Director of Health and Safety

Jeff Kreimer, who retired as a captain for the Baltimore County Fire Department and has been a member of the Maryland Jockey Club Emergency Medical Services team, was hired in February as the MJC Director of Health and Safety.

Kreimer replaces Ryan Allen, who left the MJC to pursue another opportunity. Kreimer, 56, and his wife, Karen Zeiler, live in Perry Hall in Baltimore County. The couple has been active in the racing industry as owners and breeders.

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MJC Vets To Place Horse’s On Vet’s List

Maryland Jockey Club veterinarians now have the authority to place horses on the vet’s list under Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority regulations.

The HISA Racetrack Safety Program, which began July 1, 2022, defines a regulatory veterinarian as a vet “employed by a state racing regulatory agency, racetrack, or HISA who, in addition to other duties, is responsible for monitoring the health and welfare of covered horses during covered horse races.”

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Online Pension Signups Start April 1

Virtual sign-ups for the Maryland Backstretch Pension Plan have been a success the last three years and will again be available beginning April 1 with a deadline of June 1, 2023.

Those 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 2022 and provide documentation to that effect (with a W-2 or 1099 form, or tax return).

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Officials Outline Hisa Anti-Doping And Medication Control Program

In preparation for the launch of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program, representatives of the organization’s Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit visited Laurel Park Feb. 21 to explain the program to horsemen and veterinarians.

HISA officials in late February said they expect the Federal Trade Commission to approve the AMDC Program regulations by March 27 despite ongoing litigation regarding HISA. HIWU officials have also visited other jurisdictions in advance of launch of the program.

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