Deal Reached To Extend 10-Year Deal To December 31, 2023

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland Jockey Club have struck a deal for another extension of the live racing agreement through Dec. 31, 2023.

The parties have been negotiating since last year. The 10-year agreement that began in 2013 expired Dec. 31, 2022. That was followed by a one-month extension and then a five-month extension through June 30.

The Maryland Racing Commission at its June 6 meeting approved a request for the 33-day Laurel Park summer meet, which begins June 9 and runs through late August.

The $1.525 million summer meet stakes schedule spans June 18 to Aug. 19. The seven-day Maryland State Fair at Timonium meet begins Aug. 25 and concludes Sept. 4.

MTHA President Tim Keefe said with an agreement in place, horsemen now can work with the MJC on details of the final six months of this year. He said discussions have included altering days of the week for live racing during the Colonial Downs meet in Virginia (from mid-July through early September) and perhaps modifying a few dates here and there. Otherwise, Keefe said, the schedule will be similar to the schedules of recent years.

The 10-year agreement guaranteed a minimum of 100 live racing programs per year at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course, and contained provisions by which horsemen could add racing days by subsidizing MJC operations through a revenue-sharing program. That remains part of the latest extension of the agreement.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority, established by the state General Assembly in April, was officially created when the legislation took effect June 1.

There will be nine voting members of the MTROA and four non-voting ex-officio members. The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association each selected one voting member of the authority. The Maryland Stadium Authority and Maryland Economic Development Corp., both of which have been involved in the racetrack redevelopment plan that was authorized by the General Assembly in 2020 but has stalled, each will have one voting member.

As of June 6, Gov. Wes Moore had not formally announced the members of the MTROA.

Under the legislation, the MTROA is charged with submitting a report to the the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, the House Appropriations Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on or before Dec. 1, 2023. The report must include an assessment on the feasibility of establishing at least two alternative Thoroughbred training facilities in Maryland; a review of best practices for Thoroughbred racing industry operating models and recommendations for operating models in the state; and the progress of the Pimlico and Laurel redevelopment plans.