MTHA Continues Strong Support For MD-Bred Enhancements

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is proud of its continued contributions towards the Maryland-Bred program and its partnership with the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The MTHA since 2014 has continued to build upon its contributions to the Maryland-Bred Enhancement Program, and the trend is expected to continue this year.

In 2021, the last full year of statistics, the Maryland-Bred Enhancement Program—breeder awards, owner bonuses, developer bonuses, stallion awards, Maryland-bred/sired allowance purses, Maryland-bred stakes and Maryland Million purses—totaled $12.17 million. Of that amount, the MTHA authorized allocations of $5.84 million (48.02%) from the Maryland Thoroughbred Purse Account, nearly half of purse and bonus funds devoted to Maryland-bred development in the state.

The purse account contributions began in late 2013 when the MTHA began supporting the owner bonus program for Maryland-bred runners as part of an industry-wide agreement linked to the growth of revenue from video lottery terminals at the state’s casinos. The purse account began fully funding the owner bonus program in 2016, the year the Maryland Jockey Club began carding and the MTHA funding Maryland-bred/sired allowance races.

The MTHA in 2018 also began supplementing state-bred stakes purses in excess of $400,000 a year with the exception of the shortened 2020 racing season. From 2018 to 2021, the purse account has covered $1.53 million in Maryland-bred and Maryland-sired stakes purses.

In 2016, the Maryland Thoroughbred Purse Account provided 37.23% of the Maryland-Bred Enhancement Program. By 2018 the share had climbed to 47.15%.

Total purses paid for all of 2021 reached $45.55 million. Of that amount, 26.71% was dedicated to the Maryland-Bred Enhancement Account. As recently as 2018, the share was 23.47%.

The MTHA in 2021 signed off on a proposal to shift to a structure whereby owner bonuses for Maryland-breds that finish in the top three in each overnight race would be 15% to accommodate a 15% developer bonus for each overnight race. The program was geared to protect breeders and owners of Maryland-breds at risk of being claimed early in the careers with no further return on investment for the original owner or owners who invest heavily to get a horse to the races.

In addition, the MTHA was heavily involved in and supported implementation of changes in race conditions designed to offer incentives for owners with Maryland-bred or Maryland-sire horses, including a waiver provision for the highest maiden-claiming level (currently $45,000-$36,000) at all Maryland tracks. These races have proven very popular and often attract fields comparable to those in maiden special weight events. 

The MTHA will continue to work with its industry partners in order to provide creative new programs to grow Maryland thoroughbred racing.

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