February 2020 Newsletter Available

newsletter2020 2The February 2020 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 licensed owners and trainers in the state of Maryland.


Racing industry makes case for sports betting

During a Jan. 29 legislative hearing at which racing stakeholders strongly urged that the industry be included in a sports betting bill, lawmakers announced that a working group has been formed to develop consensus.

There are four bills related to sports betting, two in the Senate and two in the House of Delegates. Though they all call for a constitutional amendment, there are differences regarding which entities would be eligible to apply for sports betting licenses.

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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.

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Tickets On Sale Now For Maryland Renaissance Awards

The third Maryland Thoroughbred Industry Renaissance Awards, which recognize equine and human excellence in the state in 2019, will be presented Feb. 11 at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery located at 5001 Washington Boulevard in Halethorpe.

The Renaissance Awards were created to recognize the best of Maryland racing and breeding from the previous year and are a cooperative effort between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland Jockey Club. 

Invitations to the Renaissance Awards have recently been mailed, and tickets may be purchased at MarylandThoroughbred.com. Tickets are $125 per person. 

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Racehorse retirement: Sometimes it means a job on the backstretch

The Beyond The Wire aftercare program has become a vital component of the Maryland Thoroughbred racing industry, having retired and facilitated placement of more than 225 racehorses since its launch in June 2017.

There is, however, much more to the local aftercare effort—Maryland horsemen and breeders for many years have kept and transitioned their retirees for jobs at the racetrack or farm. One example is the Laurel Park stable of Team Gaudet, where a 13-year-old who raced for trainer Lacey Gaudet is teaching a retired 7-year-old how to pony his stablemates.

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MATCH Series returns with expanded schedule in 2020

The highly popular and critically acclaimed Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series (MATCH) has been renewed for 2020, with an expanded schedule and an increase in owner, trainer and breeder bonus money thanks to new partner racetracks, horsemen’s groups and breeder associations.

The series, which returned in 2018 after a 16-year hiatus, is set for its best season ever. This year’s slate, which grows to 35 stakes at eight tracks, is the result of a commitment by Mid-Atlantic stakeholders to not only link regional stakes, enhance competition, and grow racing’s popularity, but also work toward the larger goal of coordination in a region with the largest concentration of daily racing in the United States.

Recognizing the popularity and success of the series, Colonial Downs and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, both of which were part of the MATCH Series during its initial run from 1997-2001, have rejoined the series, as have the Virginia and Charles Town HBPAs.

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Purse Release