Nominations Sought For Backstretch Employees Of The Year

Trainers at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course are encouraged to submit nominations for the MTHA Backstretch Employees of the Year for 2019.

The MTHA, as it has in previous years, will recognize one backstretch employee at each racetrack based on the nominations. The awards will be presented in early 2020 at the third annual Renaissance Awards.

The deadline to submit nominations is Nov. 30.

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MTHA Christmas Party and Toy Drive

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horse­men’s Association will host the popular Horsemen’s Christmas Party celebration on Monday evening, Dec. 2, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Laurel Park’s new Sports Bar. Maryland Racing’s Party of the Year, the MTHA Christmas Party will feature a buffet dinner, open bar and a dance floor with tunes provided by Larry Smith’s party band Release.

Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 each at the door or $300 for a table of 10 and can be purchased on race days in the MTHA racetrack office at Laurel Park, online at our online store or by calling 410-902-6842. See Diana Pinones in the MTHA office for more details.

Horsemen are urged to purchase tickets in advance. MTHA will also be hosting its annual toy drive for the fifth consecutive year and is asking attendees to the party to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be collected at the door. Gifts will be distributed to children of backstretch workers during the holiday season.

November 2019 Newsletter Available

newsletter2019 11The November 2019 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.


Work continues on Laurel surface; training set to resume Oct. 28

The Maryland Jockey Club track maintenance crew at Laurel Park Oct. 26 was busy restoring the base and cushion on part of the main track after repairs were done to a leaking water pipe located about 12 feet under the surface.

The problem was discovered after training Oct. 24. The track crew and MJC facilities staff worked into the evening over three days to repair the breach as quickly as possible.

Training is scheduled to resume Monday, Oct. 28. The situation resulted in the cancellation of four racing programs Oct. 24-27.

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Sewer line break forces Laurel cancellation for Oct. 24

Laurel Park was forced to cancel live racing for Thursday, Oct. 24, after a sewer line that runs underneath the dirt surface was founding to be leaking.

Training was held in the morning without incident. The water on part of the surface near the second finish line and close to the outside rail was discovered after training hours ended.

The extent of the breach is not yet known. Further details will be forthcoming as they are made available.

Earlier in the morning the Maryland Jockey Club announced that all turf races scheduled for Thursday had been moved to the main track. The racing office announced that races 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10—all scheduled for the dirt—have been brought back as extras 10-14 for the next draw, Thursday for Sunday.

Longtime Trainer Donald Souder Passes

Donald Eugene Souder, a longtime Maryland-based trainer, died Oct. 16. He was 85.

Souder, who began training in 1979, had 255 career victories and earnings just shy of $4 million. His most successful earnings year was 2004, when his horses banked $429,000.

Souder was an entrepreneur—he was involved in the car dealership Wynn Kelly Chevrolet in Clarksville, Md.; restaurants; and construction. He usually operated a small stable at Laurel Park, and earnings-wise, 2018 and 2019 were his best years in more than a decade.

Among Souder’s top horses were Maryland-bred Higher Strata, a multiple stakes winner who captured the Mister Diz, Maryland City and Endless Surprise at Laurel. Higher Strata, who Souder owned, also was multiple stakes-placed in a 56-race career. The filly Jubilees Galore, who he also owned and trained, won the Oakley Stakes at Colonial Downs.

Services are pending.

Purse Release