Bottom Level Claiming Price Increases June 1

Friday, March 1, 2024

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors at its Feb. 23 meeting approved additional changes to the condition book as recommended by the MTHA Purse Committee in conjunction with Maryland Jockey Club.

Beginning June 1 of this year, the bottom claiming price of $5,000 will be eliminated and the bottom increased to $7,500-$6,000. The latter will replace the current $8,000-$6,000 level, and there will be $7,500-$6,000 claimers for non-winners of four races lifetime or a race in the previous six months. Races for a tag of $5,000 or less will not be considered for eligibility or allowances.

During the transition, $5,000 starter allowances will continue to be carded at the Laurel Park summer meet and at the Maryland State Fair at Timonium before they are discontinued.

The MTHA Board of Directors earlier voted on changes that took effect with the March condition book at Laurel. Claiming prices for non-winners of two or three races lifetime were raised to $12,500 from $10,000; $20,000 from $16,000; and $30,000 from $25,000. The $40,000 claimers for non-winners of two or three races lifetime were eliminated.

Also at the Feb. 23 meeting, the Board of Directors voted not to accept a Purse Committee recommendation to reduce the number of maiden-claiming categories from four to three. The claiming prices will remain $45,000-$36,000 (with the Maryland-bred or -sired waiver); $30,000-$24,000; $20,000-$16,000; and $12,500-$10,000.

There was extensive discussion but no action on a proposal to implement an option for Maryland-bred or sired horses to run for 20% or 25% higher than the published claiming prices in maiden-claiming races. Various racetracks around the country offer similar conditions for some claiming races; at Parx Racing, all maiden-claiming races have a mandatory 25% increase in price for Pennsylvania-breds.

The purpose of the option to run for a higher tag is designed to offer more incentives for Maryland-bred and -sired horses and to increase return on investment should horses be claimed. MJC officials requested more time to analyze the impact of the program at Parx, so the matter will be addressed again sometime this summer.

The Board of Directors also unanimously approved adjustments to the 2024 racing calendar. The last three weeks in July and August at Laurel were originally scheduled to race only on Saturdays and Sundays to cut the number of race days for the year and reduce the conflict with Colonial Downs and Delaware Park

It was agreed to move three Thursdays—in the second half of April and the first week in May—to Fridays in July to make for three-day racing weeks. A decision will be made in June whether to expand the three weeks at Laurel in August to three days a week.

Thus far, four live racing programs in Maryland have been canceled, all of them in January because of weather conditions.

Latest Posts

MTHA Board of Directors Meeting To Be Held June 17 at 11am

The next Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Board of Directors meeting will be held Tuesday, June 17, at 11 a.m.