JoAnn Hayden

JoAnn Hayden is co-owner and operator of Dark Hollow and Safely Home Farms with husband of 56 years, David, and a first generation horsewoman who has bred and raced Maryland Thoroughbreds for nearly 50 years.

JoAnn has bred, co-bred, raised or sold over 60 stakes horses, including four Grade I winners highlighted by 2011 Racing Hall of Fame inductee, Safely Kept, the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and Test Stakes winner. She currently owns or co-owns nine horses in training and manages 24 broodmares and their offspring.

JoAnn taught in the Baltimore County Public School system for 32 years and then retired to play a more active hands-on roll in the operation of both farms. She is a current member of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors and also serves on the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation Board and is a Beyond the Wire founding member.

“As a commercial breeder, breeding raising and selling horses is my business, not my hobby,” JoAnn said. “The past success of the horses we have raced and sold has built both of our farms and for that I am grateful. At present, Maryland racing is in crisis. The present instability is pushing Maryland trainers and breeders out of the business.

“As a current member of the MTHA board, I have listened to and experienced first hand the struggle to stabilize Maryland racing and secure an agreement for more than six months at a time with very limited success. I know that the status quo is not sustainable. The recent reports by
1/ST Racing (the Maryland Jockey Club), the MTHA and the Maryland Horse Breeders Association to the new Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority show visions swerving in different directions but helped clarify mine. I support securing a safe and adequate facility for our horses and people regardless of where it might be. I support year-round racing and stabling with a collaborative racing calendar.”

JoAnn supports the MTHA’s report and vision for a sustainable future but has questions of the industry will get there.

“I am proud that during my tenure the MTHA has led the way in innovative health care for backstretch workers, new jockey safety protocols, the Beyond the Wire aftercare program and benchmark horse safety and welfare protocols,” she said. “These accomplishments make me hopeful. How do we move forward? I have many questions and very few answers. If elected, I will listen, seek and weigh options, ask more questions and make my decisions based on what is best for Maryland racing. I know we only have one chance to get it right.”