October 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 10The October 2015 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.


Bender Passes Away at Age of 84

BenderHoward Bender, who with his late wife, Sondra, operated one of Maryland’s most successful and largest racing stables, passed away Monday, Sept. 28, at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was 84.

“It was a little bit of a shock,” said Larry Murray, Bender’s trainer for nearly three decades and the manager of Bender’s farm, Glade Valley, near Frederick. “But it’s hard to have too many regrets. He had a long and great life and touched an awful lot of people.”

Bender and his late wife had been active in the breeding and racing business in Maryland since 1983 and were honored by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association in 2001, 2002 and 2003 as Maryland Breeders of the Year. Howard was honored again in 2014, and on Sept. 11 of this year received the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s award, which honors the achievements of thoroughbred breeders in 23 states and Canada, and owners in the four major North American racing regions.

In 2014, Bender bred stakes winners Bear Access, winner of the Maryland Million Ladies Stakes; More Than A Cruise, winner of the Conniver Stakes; and Ghost Bay, named 2-year-old Maryland-bred champion male after winning the Maryland Juvenile Futurity. Horses bred in Bender’s name and/or in partnership with his late wife made 154 starts in 2014, won 25 races with 19 seconds and 20 thirds, for earnings of $818,565.

Over the years, The Benders won more than 500 races and more than $14 million in purses. They had two horses in Triple Crown races: Southern Appeal in the 1986 Kentucky Derby, who finished 13th, and Foufa’s Warrior, who was seventh in the 2003 Preakness Stakes.

The Benders’ horses also had wonderful success in the Maryland Million. Their most successful homebred was La Reine’s Terms, who won 11 stakes including five in 2002 on five different turf courses. La Reine’s Terms retired with $804,591 in earnings after winning the 2005 Maryland Million Turf.

Despite Bender’s being successful for decades, this year has not been going nearly so well, Murray said.
“We’ve been having our worst year ever,” he said. “There are a couple in the barn who are promising, but Mr. Bender won’t be here to see them run.”

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September 2015 Newsletter Available

newsletter2015 9The September 2015 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 each licensed owner and trainer in the state of Maryland.


Capital Improvements Continue At Laurel Park

0628 BIZ Hard hat glovesIt’s out with the old and in with the new in the Laurel Park clubhouse, as the Stronach Group continues its plans for capital improvements at the track first built in 1911.

Underway is the remodeling of the Wilwyn Theater, which is also getting a new name – Silks. It’s part of the Stronach Group’s plan for continuing to brand its business. Silks will correspond with Silks at Gulfstream Park, but Maryland Jockey Club president and general manager Sal Sinatra said,

“I believe ours will be better.” And when you hear Sinatra describe what’s coming, you might agree with him. New carpet and a new color scheme, he said. But he’s just warming up. There also will be 90 new flat-screen televisions. Nice, but he’s not done.

“The center wall will have a state-of-the-art, high-definition, 17 ½-foot diagonal picture,” he said. “It’s a $70,000 TV. The horses look like they’re going to run over you!”
There will be better carrels, work desks, with granite tops and their own individual lighting. Each desk will have a plug for an iPad or computer – and a headphone system also is being installed.

“Right now we have 20 TVs on the wall with telecasts from various tracks, but you only hear Laurel,” Sinatra said. “We are developing an app where I can program 16 channels. You plug your headphones in and you can hear whatever track you want. No one else has that.

“We’re trying to get the ‘WOW!’ factor. You’ll see it right there. We’re planning to have those earbuds available at guest services. You can bring your own or you can get ours free and they’re yours to keep. I’m hoping people will get them, hold on to them and bring them back each time they come.”

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MRC Introduces New Stewards

3 StewardsWhen veteran stewards John Burke and Phil Grove retired this spring, Mike Hopkins, executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission, launched a national search for strong candidates to replace them.  What he got are two experienced men – Ross Pearce and Russell Derderian – who bring maturity, integrity, congenial personalities and new perspectives to the stewards’ stand.

“We had 26 applicants and Ross’ and Russell’s credentials as stewards over a long period of time stood out,” said Maryland Racing Commission board member David Hayden, who served on the search committee. “Wherever they were they did a very good job. We’ll miss the old guys, but guess what? We hired two new very experienced old guys to replace them. We’re excited to have them on the team.”

Pearce, 59, and Derderian, 66, joined chief steward Adam Campola, 53, the first week of August. 

“I am still the youngest,” said a smiling Campola, who became chief steward this spring after four years as a Maryland steward.

While the men joke about their ages, Hopkins, who made the hires, said age was never a factor in his decision. 

“It was all about their experiences and abilities,” Hopkins said. “How they interact with people was very important.  They have to learn to get along with each other every day. Personality is huge.”

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Maryland Jockey Club, in conjunction with Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, is proud to announce MedStar Health as the official medical partner of Maryland racing. MedStar will also serve as the official physicians for the innovative Horsemen’s Health System, which will provide routine and critical care to Maryland’s licensed horsemen and jockeys.

MedStar Logo“We are extremely excited to partner with MedStar Sports Medicine,” said MJC President Sal Sinatra. “Our priority has always been to provide our jockeys and horsemen with a large network of the best sports medicine specialists and we believe this affiliation accomplishes that.”

The Horsemen’s Health System is a creative and modern approach for a health platform that is unrivaled in the racing industry and puts Maryland racing’s medical care on par with other professional sports in the region. This new system will allow licensed horsemen and jockeys to take advantage of the vast MedStar network for their medical care.

Physicians will be available for walk-ins and appointments on racedays from one-hour prior to the first race until the completion of the last race in a new professional setting at Laurel Park. On dark days, MedStar physicians are located within a short few miles of both Laurel Park and Pimlico with hours 365 days a year.

MTHA’s Racetrack Representative Diana Pinones will function as the health administrator for the program and will organize access to the system in English and Spanish. In addition, the new platform will offer a streamlined prescription refill process along with an advanced medical records system (EMR). This sophisticated EMR system will allow external MedStar specialists access to patients records if continuing care is necessary.

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