Maryland State Fair Trainer Bonus Money Doubles

When horsemen arrive at the Timonium fairgrounds for the 10-day meet that begins Friday, Aug. 26, there should be smiles of anticipation on their faces.

Thanks to a $10,000 increase from the Maryland State Fair, the trainers’ bonus money payout for the 2016 meet is being raised to a total of $20,000.

“The Maryland State Fair was looking for a way to add some pizazz and encourage trainers to enter their horses during the State Fair meet,” says Ferris Allen, who serves on both the Maryland State Fair Board and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board. 

“The State Fair Board asked me what they could do to entice more horses to make the racing go better. I suggested an increase to the trainers’ bonus, which had been $10,000 for a long time. 

They made the decision and left the particulars up to me. I sat down with Georganne [MJC racing secretary Georganne Hale] and we came up with the plan that would benefit as many trainers as we could.” 

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Compounded Medications – What Trainers Need to Know

Recently, there have been several headlines regarding compounded medications and the associated risks to horse health and welfare. In some cases, using an improperly compounded medication can lead to death. Any death of a horse is difficult. Those that are preventable – as in the case of an improperly prepared compounded medication – are unacceptable. Writing off the use of all compounded medications, however, would be a rash decision. Compounded medications, when used responsibly, may have a place in horse racing.

The question is how do we know when compounded medications should be used and what medications are appropriately compounded? As horsemen/women, we may lack a degree in chemistry or be unfamiliar with the nearly unpronounceable names of drugs prescribed veterinarians prescribe. But that should not relieve us of having a basic understanding of certain terms and practices, like compounding. A basic grasp of pharmaceutical processes, together with open communication with experts (e.g., veterinarians) regarding this issue helps facilitate a safe and responsible environment for acquiring and using compounded drugs.

What is a compounding? Compounding basically occurs when a pharmacist or a veterinarian combines one or more FDA approved medications, adds flavorings to medications, or creates an alternative formulation (e.g., paste form versus powdered form) from an existing FDA approved medication. Compounding, in the strictest sense, occurs when a veterinarian mixes hyaluronic acid and a corticosteroid prior to a joint injection. It can also include adding flavoring to powdered bute and combining it with inactive ingredients into paste form. The key words here are FDA approved medications which provide some reassurance that the drugs used in compounding are safe and meet strict guidelines for production and labelling.

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Backstretch Appreciation Day: All You Can Eat and a Wheelbarrow Full of Cash Prizes

The unsung heros of our industry are undoubtedly the men and women who work tirelessly to provide the hands-on care and attention our equine athletes demand. In our continuing efforts to recognize and reward these individuals, the MTHA will hold it’s annual Backstretch Appreciation Day on September 19th from 1 p.m. unitl 4 p.m. at Laurel Park. This year’s celebration will be one that you won’t want to miss because, for the first time ever, we will be giving away $5,000 in cash and other door prizes. There will be (8) $500 cash winners and (1) grand prize of $1,000.

This year’s festivities will be held place in a new location, as the Maryland Jockey Club has offered us the use of it’s newly erected tent on the apron of the grandstand. This should provide attendees with a cool, shady environment to enjoy the food, games, and other activities on tap for the celebration.

In addition to all that cash, our backstretch workers will be provided with All-You-Can-Eat BBQ Chicken, Pit Beef, Ham, a bountiful array of salads and sides, as well as non-alcoholic beverages to keep everyone cool and hydrated. The event will be catered by Russell Clark Catering and there will be a DJ provided by Carlyle Entertainment so attendees can dance off any desserts in which they decide to indulge.

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August 2016 Newsletter Available

newsletter2016 8The August 2016 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.


Horsemen Bill Vermillion Passes at 96

Bill Vermillion, a longtime horse owner in Maryland after World War II, died Friday, July 8. He had been in good health until breaking his hip two weeks earlier in a fall. He was 96.

Born Nov. 15, 1919, Vermillion was an aide to Gen. George S. Patton and in France when World War II ended in 1945. By happenstance Vermillion got his start in racing when he decided to take a four- month trip to the French Riviera before returning home after the war.

“While he was there, he bought a racehorse,” says Vermillion’s son Richard. “He came home and surprised his mother by telling her what he’d done. Then he went to New York to pick up the horse. His name was Wilfred. I don’t think he won a race with him, but that’s how he got into racing and he was in it until the mid-1990s.”

Bill Vermillion never had more than two racehorses at a time, but that was enough to interest Richard, one of his two sons, who has been in the business for 48 years and celebrated his 500th victory as an owner with Fleets Afire July 12, just four days after his father’s death.

“My dad had a full life,” Richard Vermillion says. “He is the oldest person to live on the Vermillion side of our family. He loved horse racing. The favorite colt he owned was Mohican and his favorite filly was Somebody’s Pride. He enjoyed a good party and his friends.”

Outside of racing, Bill Vermillion made a career with the Eastman Kodak Co., running its processing lab in Washington, D.C., until he retired in 1975.

At the racetrack he knew everyone, says his longtime friend, trainer Billy Christmas.

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July 2016 Newsletter Available

newsletter2016 7v2The July 2016 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.


Purse Release