Clarity On MJC Text Regarding 150 Layoff Form

This is to clarify the text some horsemen received from Maryland Jockey Club about the need to file a form with the Equine Medical Director for horses that have been laid off for more than 150 days.

The following MRC policy was implemented and has been in place since January 1, 2020.

“A horse that has been off for more than 150 days shall be required to work 3 times, one within 30 days of entry and one work of at least one half mile. In addition, the horse shall not be allowed to enter or start until the attending practicing veterinarian signs off that the horse is sound for racing and approval is obtained from the Equine Medical Director.”

The only change from that policy has been that a regional Form, to be used by the Equine Medical Director, has been developed and is now being used with the resumption of live racing.

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Reminder to horsemen on recently adopted procedures

Several procedures related to live racing were recently adopted. They deal with the automatic 10% purse deduction for trainers, the reporting of a horse's medical record after it is claimed or sold, and a temporary rule that allows for the one-time waiver of a claiming price under certain conditions.

Details are available at the following links:

MTHA launches trainer commission deduction program

Medical records required for horses claimed, sold or transferred

One-time waiver on claiming price adopted for resumption of live racing

Reminder: Virtual sign-ups for Pension Plan now available

Virtual sign-ups for the Maryland Backstretch Pension Plan are necessary this year because of ongoing physical distancing issued by state  government officials because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual signups began a few weeks ago, and please remember to sign up as soon as possible to ensure you are eligible this year. The deadline is July 1.

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Statement from MTHA President Tim Keefe on resumption of live racing

Dear Horsemen:

I appreciate everyone's patience and understanding during this incredibly difficult period. In these challenging times, Maryland horsemen's fortitude and resilience have been remarkable, and never have I been more proud to be a Maryland horseman than now.

The MTHA, the Maryland Jockey Club and The Stronach Group, in conjunction with each group's army of lobbyists, lawyers and friends, have urged the Hogan Administration to recognize the importance of reopening Maryland live racing, the ongoing threat to our financial survival, that we fit the standards for Phase 1 of his recovery plan and that our industry is at a tipping point as our surrounding states reopen to live racing.

The Maryland Racing Commission has been incredibly supportive and has advocated for the resumption of live racing.

We have made clear to the Administration, time and again, the significant and successful steps our entire community has implemented during these last two months, as 1,300 horses have trained at Laurel Park. These steps, with a few additional measures, should allow us to join other racing jurisdictions across the United States to ensure a safe return to live racing in Maryland and to allow our industry to start to get back on its feet again.

We have also stressed the current limitations of our purse account if we cannot reopen soon. Without the ability to replenish itself and generate additional revenue from live racing, it may be unrealistic for the Purse Account to fund the Preakness and its expensive supporting race card that benefits out-of-state horsemen to the exclusion of a struggling Maryland racing community.

Unfortunately, there is still a lack of clarity from the Administration and no definitive authorization for the resumption of live racing. Because of the time and preparation needed for us to reopen, the likelihood of the resumption of live racing Memorial Day weekend is now deemed implausible.

We are tireless in our efforts to get reopened and are now focused on the possibility of racing beginning on May 29 at the earliest. Horsemen are advised to make the necessary preparations for this possibility. We cannot assure you, however, that this will be the case since we cannot reopen until permitted to do so. This is beyond our collective control.

We will keep the Maryland Thoroughbred racing community updated as the situation evolves.

It's official: Preakness at Pimlico set for Oct. 3

The 2020 Preakness Stakes will be run Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and 1/ST (The Stronach Group) President Belinda Stronach announced May 16 on NBC.

The announcement was made during NBC Sports' nationally televised broadcast, "The Middle Jewel: American Pharoah's Run to the Triple Crown." The Preakness Stakes, which would have been run May 16 but was postponedd due to coronavirus (COVID-19), will not include InfieldFest this year.

Plans for Black Eyed Susan Day, traditionally held the day before the Preakness, will be announced later.

"Under normal circumstances, I would have stood today at Pimlico Race Course with Ms. Stronach to present the Woodlawn Vase to the winner of the 145th Preakness Stakes," Hogan said. "But, as we all know, these are not ordinary circumstances. I am delighted that we were successful in working with 1/ST, the Maryland Jockey Club and all who are connected to Maryland's Thoroughbred racing industry to set the new date of Oct. 3."

The Preakness this year will follow the Kentucky Derby, which is scheduled for Sept. 5. A date for the Belmont Stakes has not been released.

"We all wish we could have been together today to celebrate the Preakness but we stayed home and stayed safe and now we can look forward to Preakness 145 on Oct. 3," Stronach said. "I would like to thank Gov. Hogan and all of the state and local leaders along with our industry stakeholders, racetrack communities and partners, including our broadcast partner NBC Sports, for the ongoing support and commitment to racing in Maryland."

More details on Preakness 145 and the 96th Black Eyed Susan Stakes will be released in the coming months.

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