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Minutes of Public Meeting - August 24, 2017

Commission Members Present:

Michael Algeo, Chairman Tammy Lafferty
David Hayden
Dr. Thomas Bowman
Tom Winebrener
Konrad Wayson
Ernie Grecco
Clarissa Coughlin

Members Absent:
Ronald Thomas

Staff Present Representing the Maryland Racing Commission:

J. Michael Hopkins

Executive Director
Eric B. London
Assistant Attorney General

In accordance with the Notice of Public Meeting, as required by §3-302, General Provisions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Maryland Racing Commission (“Commission”) met in open session on August 24, 2017, commencing at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

Chairman Mike Algeo welcomed the public back after the Commission did not have meeting in June or July. The Chairman congratulated Alan Forman for being recognized by the Governors of Maryland, Kentucky and New York for his contributions to the racing industry. Chairman Algeo also congratulated those individuals newly elected and re-elected to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

Minutes – May 25, 2017.

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting of May 25, 2017, and unanimously voted to approve them.

Regulation Final Approval – 09.10.03.01 and 09.10.03.10.

The Commission was asked to adopt as final, COMAR 09.10.03.01 and 09.10.03.10 regarding out-of-competition testing. Hearing no objection and having received no comment on the regulations after publication in the Maryland Register for the required time allowed, the Commission unanimously adopted the regulations as proposed.

Cecil County Breeders Fair, Inc.

The Commission was presented with a request from the Cecil County Breeders Fair, Inc. asking for one day of racing in 2018 on May 26, 2018. The Commission unanimously approved the request.

Rosecroft Fall Race Meeting Requests.

Prince George’s Racing Ventures (PGRV) requested approval of its fall/winter racing schedule, which included a change from running live races on Tuesdays and Thursdays to running on Saturdays and Sundays. Commissioner Winebrener asked why PGRV would change their live racing schedule and be in direct competition with college and professional football. Sal Sinatra representing PGRV responded that the wagering handle at Rosecroft has been falling for the past several months and that PGRV needed to change their schedule in an attempt to attract more individuals and increase the handle. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests.

Revised Maryland Standardbred Race Fund Stake Schedule.

Due to the change of the live Rosecroft racing schedule, the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund requested that their Fall stake schedule be amended to coincide with the new live racing schedule. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests.

Maryland State Fair.

Bill Reightler representing the Maryland State Fair informed the Commission that the increase in purses for the Timonium race meeting has provided full competitive fields over the first 3 days of the meet and the State Fair was anticipating a very successful race meeting in conjunction with the Fair. Chairman Algeo thanked Mr. Reightler for the update.

Maryland Bred Fund – Maryland Sired Bonus.

The Maryland Bred Race Fund Advisory Committee, at the request of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association Board, recommended that a 50% Maryland breeder bonus be paid to a Maryland sired/Maryland bred horse that wins a maiden race in Maryland. The bonus would coincide with the start of Laurel’s Fall race meeting in September of 2017. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the recommendation.

Maryland Jockey Club Update on Construction Projects and RFRF Requests.

Sal Sinatra representing the Maryland Jockey Club introduced Walter Lynch, who is under contract by the Maryland Jockey Club to oversee and coordinate the construction projects at Laurel Park and Pimlico. Mr. Lynch advised the Commission that there had been issues with permitting regarding the renovations in the Clubhouse and Grandstand, which directly impacted the construction of the new barn in Laurel’s stable area. Mr. Lynch further advised that a new inspector for the county has required Laurel to make improvements to its facility that would bring it up to current code, before releasing the permit to continue construction in the barn area. Mr. Lynch also commented that he believed the issues were close to being resolved with the county. The Commission thanked Mr. Lynch for the report.

The Commission was then presented with a request from the Maryland Jockey Club for the reimbursement of funds from the Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund (RFRF) for $157,182.00 and $317,104.00 for capital improvement projects. Both requests had been reviewed by the Commission’s Certified Public Accountant and recommended for approval. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Ratifications.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins asked the Commission members to ratify several e-mail polls conducted since the last meeting held on May 25, 2017, which included requests from the Maryland Jockey Club for its Laurel Fall race meeting; its Fall Stake Schedule; the Maryland State Fair for its Summer race meeting; and the Maryland Bred Fund approval of its semi-annual bonus percentages which included the 2017 Maryland Million. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously ratified the previously approved requests.

Racing and Breeding Review Committee.

Commissioner Dr. Thomas Bowman reported that his committee had met and discussed a number of horsemen’s issues, which included the condition book and classes of races. Dr. Bowman also reported that the committee will be reviewing the 10 year agreement for compliance in the near future.

Maryland Bred Race Fund Advisory Committee.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins advised the Commission that it has been requested to approve the following individuals to serve on the Maryland Bred Advisory Committee through May 31, 2018: Commissioner David Hayden as Chairman; Georganne Hale as the mile track representative; Andrew Cashman as the half mile representative; and Willie White and Larry Murray to represent the Maryland Horse Breeders. Hearing no objection, the Commission approved the requests.

Maryland Standardbred RaceFund Advisory Committee.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins advised the Commission that the Commission is being asked to approve Commissioner Tammy Lafferty to serve as the Chairman of the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund Advisory Committee through May 31, 2018. Hearing no objection, the Commission approved the request.

Uniform Penalty Guidelines.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins explained to the Commission that the current policy of the Maryland Racing Commission is to follow the Uniform Penalty and Guidelines established by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI). Mr. Hopkins also advised the Commission members that under the current policy, any horse that tests positive for a medication requiring a “C” class penalty is disqualified. Further, Mr. Hopkins reported that at the ARCI Summer Board Meeting held in July, the penalty guidelines were amended to allow for mitigating circumstances to be considered for a first time offender and not require the automatic disqualification of the offending horse. Mr. Hopkins also explained to the Commission that by recognizing the amended ARCI guidelines the stewards and judges would have the discretion not to disqualify a horse that had tested positive. The Commission thanked Mr. Hopkins for the update and accepted the amended guidelines.

VLT Report.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with a VLT report from the month of July.

Recognition.

Chairman Algeo recognized the horse Ben’s Cat after his passing in July for all of his success throughout his racing career under Hall of Fame trainer King T. Leatherbury.

Public Comments.

Hearing no public comments, the Commission adjourned.

Next Commission Meeting.

The next Commission meeting will be held on September 28, 2017, at 12:30 P.M. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director