MD General Assembly working on bill to enable sports betting

Legislation that would facilitate sports betting operations in Maryland has been introduced in the House of Representatives and has been the subject of multiple hearings and workshops since mid-February.

Maryland voters in November 2020 approved sports betting via constitutional amendment. During the shortened 2020 General Assembly session, both houses held hearings on sports betting bills but opted to proceed with a simplified ballot question and work on enacting legislation in 2021.

The measure, which includes mobile wagering on sports, has been taken up by the House Ways and Means Committee. A sports betting bill had not been filed in the Senate as of March 1, but that chamber’s Budget and Taxation Committee thus far has held two sports betting workshop to get input on legislation.

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And the 2020 Renny winners are ...

The winners of the Renaissance Awards, which recognize excellence in the Maryland racing and breeding industry, are being announced by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association from Feb. 22-28.

As the champions are announced, links to videos will be posted here. Award winners will be announced on MHBA social media twice a day.

Congratulations to the 2020 Renaissance Award champions.

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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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