Gov. Hogan’s plan offers hope to resume live racing soon

The “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan released April 24 by Gov. Larry Hogan outlines four building blocks and coronavirus (COVID-19) benchmarks that must be met before a three-stage reopening of businesses and restart of activities can begin, and the governor indicated he’s hopeful that can occur in early May.

The building blocks are procuring a sufficient amount of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers, generating hospital surge capacity, having adequate testing capacity and having a robust contact-tracing program, according to the 30-page document. The building blocks work in conjunction with guidelines from the White House Coronavirus Task Force that state a 14-day downward trajectory of the metrics, or at least a plateauing, is required before recovery can move forward.

The key metrics in Maryland, Hogan said, are the rate of hospitalization and the number of patients admitted to intensive care units.

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MedStar offering online service for COVID-19 information

MedStar Health, which provides physicians for the Maryland Horsemen’s Health System, is offering an online service to provide important information on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Users can check their symptoms and access details about COVID-19, read about ways to avoid infection, learn about testing and recovery, and sign up for text alerts related to the virus.

The “check symptoms” program link is available here

The primary MedStar COVID-19 information web page is available here.

MJC: Imperative masks to be worn in stable area of Laurel Park and Pimlico

As part of coronavirus (COVID-19) health and safety protocol issued by the Maryland Jockey Club and its parent company, The Stronach Group, it is imperative that all persons in the stable area at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course wear face coverings.

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association earlier arranged for the making and shipment of reusable face masks for use by those who work on the backstretch. They were distributed by MJC security staff to backstretch workers, trainers, assistant trainers, exercise riders and others, and more are available. Costs were funded by the Maryland Horsemen's Assistance Foundation.

“Based on the protocols at other Stronach Group tracks, everybody should be wearing a face covering,” MJC Director of Security Major Mike Singletary said. “And if we’re trying to get back to having live racing, this is one of the initiatives set forth by the governor. If anyone needs a mask, they should ask a member of the security team. Stock is available. If masks are provided, masks should be worn.”

COVID loan programs get more funding; owners, tracks eligible

Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is included in a $480 billion in coronavirus (COVID-19) financial relief passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representative and signed by President Trump April 24.

The EIDL program and Paycheck Protection Program are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that passed Congress in March. The most recent legislation adds $60 billion to the EIDL program and another $310 billion for the PPP.

The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association April 24 announced that the Small Business Administration issued new guidance clarifying that racetracks and small entities such as horse ownership entities are eligible for PPP loans.

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MD task force develops protocols for resumption of racing

The Maryland Racing Commission April 23 was given an update on the work of a task force charged with developing protocols and procedures necessary for a return of live racing, which was suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Many of them have been in place for weeks at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, which remain open for training. Before the state-ordered shutdown of live racing, Laurel successfully offered three days of racing with only essential personnel permitted on the grounds.

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Advisory to Maryland horsemen on aftercare

CANTER is a listing service run by volunteers that advertises retiring horses for owners and trainers. In light of recent issues we have encountered, Maryland horsemen are encouraged to first contact the Beyond The Wire aftercare program when they choose to retire a racehorse.
 
The CANTER listing service is not accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and because of that horsemen who use the service are solely responsible for screening the buyers and ensuring that the horses go to safe and secure homes with people who can properly care for them. Also beware that unlike TAA-accredited facilities, CANTER offers no safety net for horses should the rehoming situation not work out. This fact makes it even more imperative that the trainer be extremely honest and disclose all useful information, which is always in the best interest of the horse.
 
Beyond The Wire’s partner farms are TAA-accredited and take their horses back should an adoption not work out. Please contact Beyond The Wire administrator Jessica Hammond at 301-776-0404 if you need to retire a horse.
 
“Our partner facilities have a lot of space despite the circumstances (related to COVID-19),” Hammond said. “We’re still moving horses during this time.”

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