Finalists for Maryland Renaissance Awards announced

The fourth Renaissance Awards, a cooperative effort between the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Maryland Jockey Club, will look a bit different this year as the top Maryland owner, trainer and jockey, Maryland stallion, broodmare and breeder, as well as the champion Maryland-breds of 2020 will be presented in February. Special awards will be presented to Pimlico and Laurel Backstretch Employees of the Year as well as to an industry Unsung Hero.

The Renaissance Awards were created to recognize the best of Maryland racing and breeding from the previous year. Finalists will be highlighted the week of Feb. 15, with champions and industry award winners announced throughout the week of Feb. 22, via the MHBA's social media accounts and website.

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New protocols for claimed horses take effect at Laurel Park Feb. 12

The updated “void claim” regulation and related procedures to be followed after a horse is claimed will take effect at Laurel Park Friday, Feb. 12.

The Maryland Racing Commission approved the regulation in early December with emergency status to speed up the adoption process. The regulation is part of an ongoing effort in Maryland and neighboring states to increase the focus on equine health, safety and welfare.

The MRC already had a regulation which states that "a claim is voidable at the sole direction of the new owner, for a period of one hour after a race is made official, for any horse that is vanned off the track after the race at the discretion of the State Veterinarian." The updated language adds that a claim can be voided, for a period of one hour after a race is made official, if a horse "is sent to the Detention Barn and observed to be lame by the State Veterinarian."

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Backstretch Worker of the Year-Pimlico: Edgar Gallegos

Edgar Gallegos has been named the Pimlico Backstretch Worker of the Year for 2020.

Gallegos, who has worked for trainers Horacio de Paz and Mary Eppler at Pimlico Race Course, currently works for Brittany Russell, who has horses at Pimlico and Laurel Park. Jackie Savoye, Russell’s assistant at Pimlico, said Gallegos is a “very hard worker who hustles horses to run in the afternoon (at Laurel) in addition to every­thing he does in the morning at Pimlico.”

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Backstretch Worker of the Year-Laurel Park: Antonio Salazar

Antonio Lopez Salazar has been named the Laurel Park Backstretch Worker of the Year for 2020.

Salazar, who currently resides near Laurel with his wife and two children, began working for trainer Phil Schoenthal in 2014 and remains in that position today. Previously, Salazar worked for Leo Nechamkin at Laurel for five to six years before Nechamkin, currently an owner, retired from training.

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Carrasco Recognized With Special Award

Victor Carrasco is well-known for his success on the racetrack as a jockey, but he has remained true to the experiences that laid the groundwork for his career.

Carrasco, 28, was a hot walker and groom in his native Puerto Rico before becoming a jockey. He hasn’t forgotten it, and his dedication in assisting backstretch workers and their families at Maryland racetracks has earned him the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Unsung Hero Award for 2020. The MTHA Board of Directors approved adding the award to its existing awards that recognize backstretch workers are Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course each year.

“I grew up on the backstretch back home,” said Carrasco, who won his 1,000th race in 2020 and was the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey for 2013.

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February 2021 Newsletter Available

newsletter2021 2The February 2021 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.



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