Passero to conduct assessment of Laurel Park surface
About 30 minutes before the start of the April 25 Maryland Racing Commission meeting, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Horse Breeders Associations reached an agreement on hiring consultant John Passero to examine the Laurel Park dirt surface and make recommendations for its improvement in the wake of a string of equine injuries during training and racing.
The MRC called the special meeting to address the surface issues and, if necessary, identify a third-party consultant to handle the examination at the expense of the MJC, which it is authorized to do by statute. The MTHA earlier had offered to pay Passero to do the work, but the MJC and its parent company, The Stronach Group (1/ST Racing), had refused. Under the agreement, the MTHA will pay Passero, who visited Laurel more than a year ago at the request of horsemen after issues with the surface were discovered.
MTHA President Tim Keefe at the meeting told the commission the horsemen’s association is tasked with the important goal of maximizing equine health and safety efforts. He was involved in the negotiations with the MJC for days.
“Our job is to get into a room where cooler heads prevail, and there is no room for politics or personalities," Keefe said. "We are looking forward to Mr. Passero starting work (the morning of April 26).”
The Preakness Stakes post-position draw will be held Monday, May 15, at Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore and will include a public concert by English musician John Waite, who is known for his many popular songs in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
After days of negotiations, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association reached an agreement with the Maryland Jockey Club on hiring consultant John Passero to examine the Laurel Park dirt surface and make recommendations for its improvement in the wake of a string of equine injuries during training and racing.