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Minutes of Public Meeting - May 17, 2016

Commission Members Present:

John P. McDaniel, Chairman
Tammy Lafferty
David Hayden
Charles Tildon
Tom Winebrener
Dr. Thomas Bowman
Bruce Quade
Ernest Grecco
Mary Louise Preis

Members Absent:

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 May 17, 2016, commencing at 12:30 p.m. at Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland. Chairman John McDaniel called the meeting to order.

Minutes – April 19, 2016.

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting of April 19, 2016, and voted unanimously to approve them.

Maryland Stadium Authority Study Of Pimlico and Preakness Stakes.

Chairman John McDaniel announced that all the required documents have been executed between the Maryland Jockey Club, the Baltimore Development Corporation, the Maryland Racing Commission and the Maryland Stadium Authority to initiate the study by Crossroads Consultation Services, LLC, the Maryland Stadium Authority’s consultants, for the Pimlico and Preakness Stakes study. Commissioner Quade commented that by having the Maryland Stadium Authority involved in the process, the findings of the study will be held in high regard.

Maryland Jockey Club – RFRF Request.

The Commission was presented with two requests from the Maryland Jockey Club for reimbursement from the Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund. Both requests had been reviewed by the Commission’s Certified Public Accountant. The first request totaled $235,565.00 for a new barn and wash stalls. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request. The second request was for $549,195.00 for the construction costs associated with a third new barn at Laurel Park. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Maryland Jockey Club – Update.

Chairman McDaniel commented that as it is Preakness Week, he considered it appropriate to have Tim Ritvo of the Maryland Jockey Club comment on Preakness activities. Mr. Ritvo advised that there are numerous logistical issues regarding the Black Eyed Susan and Preakness events at Pimlico. Mr. Ritvo further stated that the two days of racing carry the tracks for the balance of the year. He contrasted racing with other big day events, as racing continues to operate on a year round basis. Chairman McDaniel asked Mr. Ritvo to explain the purpose of the Pimlico study. Mr. Ritvo explained that the study will encompass many aspects of the Preakness and Pimlico. Chairman McDaniel clarified who was paying for the study, stating the Maryland Jockey Club, the Baltimore Development Corporation and the Maryland Stadium Authority were funding the study.

Sal Sinatra of the Maryland Jockey Club reported that he was anticipating 11 horses to run in the Preakness Stakes. Mr. Sinatra further commented that the undercard for Friday and Saturday would have full fields and enhanced wagering opportunities. Mr. Ritvo also reported that the recently concluded Laurel meet provided for a 35% increase in daily handle, in state wagering on the Laurel product increased by 25% and the export of the Laurel signal increased by 12%. Mr. Ritvo attributed the increases to a .5 (7.9 to 8.4) increase in field size, turf racing and the success of the OTB network. Mr. Ritvo concluded by stating that the Maryland Jockey Club has entered into a purchase agreement to buy Rosecroft Raceway and was looking forward to working with the standardbred industry. Chairman McDaniel asked Mr. Ritvo if the Maryland Jockey Club intended to continue the racing operation at Rosecroft. Mr. Ritvo responded that he was looking forward to working with the harness horsemen and anticipates racing at Rosecroft to continue.

March VLT Report.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission members with a VLT report, which compared the amount generated for the Purse Dedication Account in 2015 and 2016. The report shows a continued increase on a month to month basis.

Public Comment.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins reported that on May 6, 2016, the Commission held a public meeting via a conference call to repeal the amount charged for license fees. Mr. Hopkins further stated that the revenue that had been generated from these fees is not returned to the Commission, but is deposited directly into the General Fund of the State. Mr. Hopkins went on to explain that this would not have any impact on the Commission’s budget.

Tom Cooke, President of the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association, asked the Commission to review the impact of trainer suspensions. Mr. Cooke expressed his concern that trainers subvert suspensions by transferring their horses to another person while still controlling the training of the horses. The Commission indicated that they would examine the issue.

Chairman McDaniel recognized Assistant Attorney General Chris Lord for his work with the Commission over the past two years and wished him well in his future endeavors.

Next Commission Meeting.

The next Commission meeting will be held on July 12, 2016, at 12:30 P.M. in the Clubhouse at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director