Take Advantage Of MTHA Horsemen’s Counseling Program

The Horsemen’s Counseling Program is a service provided by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association that is designed to assist backstretch employees, trainers, jockeys and others with a variety of problems they may face including stress, depression, family issues, marital conflicts, anxiety, grief, alcohol or drug abuse, financial concerns, and legal issues.

Counseling Administrator Jessica Hammond can help individuals get enrolled in drug and alcohol treatment and off-site mental health treatment programs if necessary, including programs that provide Spanish-speaking therapists. All assistance is strictly confidential and is available to everyone who works at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

Hammond can be reached at 301-776-0404 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Riding Crop Rule To Take Effect

All exercise riders and jockeys must have riding crops that conform to Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act regulations during morning training hours. Enforcement of the regulations is effective Feb. 1, 2023.

The following crops are considered HISA-compliant: the 360GT, which can be purchased at rydersup.com; the EZ Strike, which can be purchased by contacting Alex Birzer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 785-466-3388; and the SB 100, which can be purchased at GAJockeyshop.com.

Maryland Horse Industry Day Event Returns

After a few years of being held virtually, “Maryland Horse Industry Day” will return to the state capital of Annapolis Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The event, designed to bring attention to the importance of the overall equine industry in Maryland, will be held from 5-7 p.m. at The Governor Calvert House located at 58 State Circle in Annapolis. Members of the General Assembly and other government officials are expected to attend. There will be hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.

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February 2023 Newsletter Available

newsletter2023 2The February 2023 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.


HISA rep visits Laurel to assist horsemen with use of portal

As part of a Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority outreach program, Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, Director of Equine Safety and Welfare, visited racetracks in Maryland and two other states to assist trainers with entering vaccination information in the HISA portal and to answer any other questions about the system.

Durenberger, who took the job with HISA last fall after serving as The Jockey Club steward at the New York Racing Association tracks, visited the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association office at Laurel Park Jan. 8. She was at Aqueduct Racetrack Jan. 7 and traveled to Parx Racing Jan. 9.

"HISA sent some personnel to various racetracks to assist horsemen and horsewomen with vaccine-related procedures, registration of new horses, and to answer general questions about procedures," Durenberger said. "We also are identifying areas where we can make our side of the process more efficient (to benefit trainers). It's troubleshooting, and the hope is that it's the start of regular in-person communications. We will be visiting more racetracks in the future."

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Groom Recognition Program Hits Its Stride

A groom recognition program that began Thanksgiving Day 2021 at Laurel Park truly established itself in 2022 and is continuing into the new year.

On all live racing days at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Jockey Club fund the “Best Turned Out Award” in every race as a way to show appreciation for the time and effort shown by those who bring the horses to the paddock. The program has become so popular that there’s even a little competition among the grooms.

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Horse injury Report

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