Trainer 'Hammy' Smith collects 2,000th victory

Longtime Maryland-based trainer Hamilton "Hammy" Smith won his 2,000th race Jan. 10 at Laurel Park—appropriately with a South Carolina-bred filly owned and bred by his brother, Franklin.

Smith had two horses in to race on the Friday program in the first and second races, and Sweet Home Dixie won the second event, a starter allowance test for fillies and mares at one mile. The filly by Done Talking rallied four-wide at the head of the stretch under leading rider Trevor McCarthy and pulled away in midstretch to win.

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Urizar Velazquez: Pimlico Backstretch Employee for 2019

Urizar "Uri" Velazquez, who assists trainer Brandon McFarlane with his shedrow, has been selected the MTHA Backstretch Employee of the Year at Pimlico Race Course for 2019.

Velazquez, a 27-year-old native of Mexico, began working with Thoroughbreds for Mark Casse in Ocala, Fla., as a teenager and landed his first exercise-riding job with top consignor Eddie Woods in Ocala. He later worked as an exercise rider for Sagamore Farm and then trainer Dane Kobiskie in Maryland.

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Troy Singh: Laurel Backstretch Employee for 2019

Troy Singh, who has served as assistant trainer for the Claudio Gonzalez barn for the past four years, has been selected Backstretch Employee of the Year at Laurel Park for 2019.

Singh, a 38-year-old native of Guyana, took an interesting path to his job--he was a racehorse owner who became so interested in being around the horses that he went to work for Gonzalez, who he met at Monmouth Park when Gonzalez claimed a horse for him.

Singh owned 12 horses trained by Gonzalez at the Bowie Training Center before it closed in 2015 and then became his assistant at Laurel.

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New riding crop rule in effect in Maryland

The Maryland Racing Commission effective Jan. 9 implemented a riding crop rule that stemmed from discussions among members of the local riding colony and the stewards.

The jockeys and stewards had been discussing development of a rule given action taken in other jurisdictions over the past year in California, New Jersey and at Woodbine in Canada.

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'Coffee With Chris' offers opportunity to discuss racing surface

In keeping with a heightened focus on equine health and safety, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association recently launched biweekly meetings that allow horsemen to interact with Track Superintendent Chris Bosley on racing surface issues.

"Coffee With Chris" is held every other Friday at 9:30 a.m. in the MTHA offices in the Laurel Park recreation room. Bosley, who was hired by the Maryland Jockey Club in April 2018, is readily available when horsemen have questions or concerns, but the regular meetings are designed to create more dialogue.

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January 2020 Newsletter Available

newsletter2020 1The January 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.


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