- Published: Tuesday, 19 January 2021 00:31
The Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association are working on plans to link a series of stakes with a bonus component under the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series format in 2021.
MATCH was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 restrictions that led to months-long shutdowns. Citing potential continued instability in racing as well as lost purse revenue caused by casino closures, representatives of the participating racetracks late last fall agreed to not hold the series in 2021 and to plan for its return in 2022.
MJC President Sal Sinatra had suggested during the MATCH stakeholders' meeting that perhaps Maryland could host a mini MATCH Series to bridge the gap. On Jan. 19 he asked the MTHA Board of Directors to consider using the bonus money it would have contributed to MATCH for the Maryland-only series.
The board approved the use of $67,000 for the series, with further details to come as discussions continue on the Maryland stakes schedule for the May-through-December period. The schedule for the Laurel Park winter and spring meets are already set.
In response to concerns about a dearth of Maryland-bred stakes, Sinatra told the board he is proposing $1 million in Maryland-bred stakes as part of its overall 2021 stakes schedule. When completed, the schedule will be submitted to the board for consideration.
In other business at the MTHA Board of Directors meeting:
—Tim Keefe will serve his third term as President of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors, which met to elect officers and conduct other business.
Other officers are Linda Gaudet, Vice President; Katherine Voss, Secretary; and Michael Horning, Treasurer. The election for the 15-member board was held in December and the results announced in early January.
The Board also is considering adding an online voting option for the next election in 2023. Members agreed with the recommendation to encourage more participation in the election process.
—The Board endorsed a proposal, at the request of Steve Koch, Senior Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group, regarding the type of shoes that can be used on the turf courses. The rule proposed by the MJC states: “No toe grabs, caulks, stickers, blocks, turndowns, inserts, trailers or heel extensions will be allowed on the front or hind shoes. Only Flat, Queen’s Plate, or Queen’s Plate XT may be used on the turf course.”
The change marks a return to an earlier rule regarding shoe use on turf courses.
—The Board also discussed issues with a proposal to assess a 1% fee on all claims at Maryland racetracks and using those funds to support the Beyond The Wire aftercare program. In lieu of assessing a fee on claims, the Board approved—effective immediately—a $5 increase in the current Purse Protection Program fee to $20 with the addtional funds earmarked to the highly successful aftercare initative.