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.


Maryland-Bred Owner Bonus Program Reinvigorated

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Jockey Club have announced changes to the Maryland-Bred Owner Bonus Program to accommodate a new Developer Bonus Program, beginning in phases with the Jan. 22 racing program at Laurel Park.

A 15% bonus will be paid to the developer—the owner or owners of a horse when it makes its first career start—for any Maryland-bred that finishes first, second or third in an open overnight race at a Maryland track. The Developer Bonus only applies to a horse still owned continuously by the original owner of the horse as of Jan. 22, 2021, or the owner of a horse that makes its first career start after January 22, 2021.

The Developer Bonus is not part of the purse and will not be included in a horse's earnings. The bonuses will be paid monthly once the testing of samples is completed and the races are released by the stewards. It will be the responsibility of the developer to provide the Horsemen's Bookkeeper with a W-9 if they do not already have a horsemen's account.

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Board Of Director's Wrap-up - January 2021

The Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association are working on plans to link a series of stakes with a bonus component under the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series format in 2021.

MATCH was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 restrictions that led to months-long shutdowns. Citing potential continued instability in racing as well as lost purse revenue caused by casino closures, representatives of the participating racetracks late last fall agreed to not hold the series in 2021 and to plan for its return in 2022.

MJC President Sal Sinatra had suggested during the MATCH stakeholders' meeting that perhaps Maryland could host a mini MATCH Series to bridge the gap. On Jan. 19 he asked the MTHA Board of Directors to consider using the bonus money it would have contributed to MATCH for the Maryland-only series.

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Chris Bosley, who has been the dirt track superintendent for the Maryland Jockey Club since spring of 2018, has added oversight of the turf courses at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course to his duties. 

Bosley on Jan. 15 said he has been working closely with consultant Sean Gault, former Director of Thoroughbred Surfaces at Woodbine in Toronto, who is now semi-retired, to design a plan to improve the Laurel turf course.  

“We’re currently designing a plan to attack the turf course,” Bosley said. “Everyone knows we have had an ongoing drainage issue. We’re approaching this from every angle possible. It’s going to take a while for us to get where we want to be but we’ll do everything in our power to get there. MJC is providing the crew, equipment and the resources to get it done.”

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New clenbuterol restrictions to take effect March 1

A regulation that greatly restricts use of the bronchodilator clenbuterol in racing and training will take effect March 1, according to the Maryland Racing Commission, which approved it in late 2020.

The regulation stemmed from the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan, a document designed to enhance the health, safety and welfare of racehorses. Other states in the region are in the process of adopting the new clenbuterol language.

As of March 1, clenbuterol will not have a permissive threshold, MRC Executive Director Mike Hopkins said. The presence of the substance in a blood or urine sample—at any detectable level—will constitute a violation. A horse found with clenbuterol in its system will be disqualified and the trainer subject to disciplinary action.

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