Pension Program Grows Contribution to $900,000

Retirement benefits for backstretch workers are a reality in Maryland, thanks to a program started by the MTHA in 1988. The Backstretch Pension Fund is derived from monies deducted from the Purse Account. Participants do not make individual contributions into the plan.

The Board of Directors of the MTHA annually allocates funds to support this program. The contribution has been significantly increased to $900,000 this year, pending MRC approval, up from $750,000 last year, which is distributed among all participants.

Sign-ups for the Pension Program are conducted each spring at Laurel Park and Pimlico and for the second year in a row at Fair Hill Training Center. At that time, employees must register to receive benefits based on the previous year.

For individual questions regarding your pension account contact Allison Bach. She can be reached by calling 410-771-3035 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for questions about accounts or for information about cashing out.


Anyone employed in the care of horses on the backstretch in Maryland in good standing, including trainers, is eligible to participate in the program.

Employees must have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours during the specified year in Maryland, and provide documentation to that effect (with a W-2 or 1099 form, or tax return) at time of sign-up.

Benefits become available when the employee reaches the age of 65, or at age 55 with 25 years of service.


Pension Plan Registration for the plan year 2019 will take place at the following times and locations. Bring your MRC Badge and W-2, 1099, or tax return for 2019. For more information call the MTHA office at (410) 902-6842.

April 20 through April 24 
Laurel Track Kitchen, 
9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

April 27 through May 1 
Laurel Track Kitchen, 
9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

May 4 through May 8 
Pimlico MTHA Office, 
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

May 20 
Fair Hill Training Center In Clocker’s Tower 
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Failure to register will result in the loss of your 2019 benefit.

Purse Release