Maryland stalwart Robert T. Manfuso passes at age 82

Robert T. Manfuso, a longtime Maryland owner and breeder who at one time owned a share of two Maryland Jockey Club racetracks, died of natural causes at his home the evening of March 19. He was 82.

Manfuso, who co-owned and operated Chanceland Farm in West Friendship, Md., with his partner, trainer Katy Voss, was a member of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Board of Directors and was a tireless advocate for Thoroughbred owners. One of his objectives was improving the owner experience at Maryland racetracks, and he also was instrumental in the rebound of the Maryland breeding industry in recent years.

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Live racing at Laurel suspended until further notice

Live racing at Laurel Park has been suspended until further notice because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

"In accordance with the Maryland Governor's Executive Orders and as part of the continuing effort to protect the health and safety of essential personnel and the horses they care for, the Maryland Jockey Club will temporarily pause live racing at Laurel Park and Rosecroft Raceway. Our top priority is the well-being of every person and every horse in our community and we look forward to resuming when the state and federal leaders and health authorities deem it appropriate to do so."


Stable area now restricted to Laurel Park and Pimlico horses

The Laurel Park stable area will be closed to horses other than those based at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course, effectively immediately.

Shippers will not be permitted, and any that had been entered for the programs of Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, at Laurel will be scratched.

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Racing and Community Development Act, sports betting pass General Assembly

The Racing and Community Development Act of 2020, which authorizes financing for the rebuild of Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, cleared the Maryland General Assembly March 18—the final day of an abbreviated session—and goes to Gov. Larry Hogan for consideration.

The legislation calls for the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue up to $375 million in bonds for the project through a combination of funds from the Racetrack Facility Renewal Account, the Purse Dedication Account, video lottery terminal payments to Baltimore City and money from the Maryland Lottery. The Act would take effect June 1 of this year.

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Video tutorial on digital certification now available

The Jockey Club Registry has made available a video tutorial and FAQs to assist industry stakeholders with managing digital certificates. Digital certificates were introduced in 2018 to streamline management of the official certificate of registration throughout the life of a Thoroughbred.

Click here to watch the tutorial and click here to read the FAQs.

"A digital certificate follows a Thoroughbred from the farm to the sales to the racetrack to the breeding shed and even into retirement," said Rick Bailey, registrar for TJC. "The foals of 2018 are now 2 years old, and they are the first Thoroughbreds to arrive at the racetrack with digital certificates.

"We want to help racing office personnel, trainers, and other interested parties learn how to manage digital certificates to ensure the process is smooth and efficient for everyone. For Thoroughbreds 3 years old and older, the paper certificate process stays the same."

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MD House passes Racing Development bill on 122-8 vote

The Maryland House of Delegates the afternoon of March 14 passed the Racing and Community Development Act on a 122-8 vote.

The House followed the Senate, which earlier passed its version of the legislation by a vote of 44-1. The two bills vary only slightly—the primary components such as the funding mechanism for the Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course are the same—and the votes indicate strong support for the measure.

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Purse Release