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Minutes of Public Meeting - November 15, 2016

Commission Members Present:

John P. McDaniel, Chairman
Tammy Lafferty
Ronald Thomas
Ernest Grecco
Tom Winebrener
Dr. Thomas Bowman
Bruce Quade
David Hayden

Members Absent:
Mary Louise Preis

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 November 15, 2016, commencing at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

Minutes – October 18, 2016

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting of October 18, 2016, and voted unanimously to approve them.

Satellite Simulcast Betting Permits.

The Commission was presented with requests from the River Boat on the Potomac and the Maryland Jockey Club to renew their permits to operate Satellite Simulcast Betting facilities during calendar year 2017 at the Riverboat, Horseshoe Casino, Boonsboro, Pimlico and Timonium. The Commission members were also informed that all of the facilities continue to meet the requirements set forth in the Commission regulations. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests.

Final Regulations.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with two regulations for final adoption. Each regulation had been proposed by the Commission and published for the required period of time for public comment. Mr. Hopkins advised the Commission that no comments had been received. COMAR 09.10.03.01 adds a secondary threshold for Ketoprofen. If present in a post-race sample with another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, the combination of the two would be considered a violation of the medication rules. The second regulation, COMAR 09.10.05.05, amends the current language to require a 30 day notice, instead of 15 days, before the Commission could consider an application for a Satellite Simulcast Betting Facility. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved both regulations for final adoption.

Maryland Jockey Injury Compensation Fund - 2017.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that the Willis Insurance Group had received a premium quote from Chesapeake Insurance for approximately the same amount as the previous year. However, Willis was waiting on quotes from two others companies before presenting a policy to the Commission for its approval. Mr. Hopkins asked the Commission to approve the $100.00 assessment levied on each licensed owner and trainer for calendar year 2017. The Commission unanimously approved the request.

2017 Racing Dates.

The Commission was provided with 2017 racing date requests from the Maryland State Fair, Rosecroft Raceway, Ocean Downs Raceway and the Maryland Jockey Club. Mr. Hopkins informed the Commission that the racing dates and the number of live racing days were the same as 2016, but for six additional live racing days by the Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel and six additional days of live racing at Rosecroft. In addition to the race date requests, the Maryland Jockey Club, Rosecroft Raceway and Ocean Downs Raceway were also requesting approvals to import and export all races they find marketable during the 2017 calendar year. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests.

Maryland Jockey Club – 2017 Winter Race Meet.

The Commission was presented with a number of requests from the Maryland Jockey Club for its 2017 winter race meeting at Laurel Park, which runs from January 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017. The request included 38 days of live racing and 52 days of simulcasting. Mr. Hopkins advised that the live racing will be held on a Friday through Sunday basis, with a few exceptions for holidays that occur during the race meet. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the requests.

Maryland Jockey Club – Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins reported the he had received a request from the Maryland Jockey Club for reimbursement of $938,230.00 for qualified capital projects from the Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund. Mr. Hopkins further reported that the request had been reviewed by Gegorek and Company, the Commission’s accountant, as required by law. The improvements include glass replacement in the Clubhouse, paving and a new water truck for the track surface. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request. Mr. Hopkins also informed the Commission members that he has received another request from the Maryland Jockey Club for an advance of funds from the Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund in the amount of $1,760,990.00. The amount requested reflects 50% of an executed contract entered into by the Maryland Jockey Club for the construction of another new barn that would contain 84 stalls and a number of dorm rooms and offices for back stretch workers. Mr. Hopkins also stated that the request had been properly reviewed by the Commission’s accountant. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved this request.

Maryland Jockey Club Update.

Tim Ritvo, Sal Sinatra and Belinda Stronach reported that from 2014 to 2016 the Maryland Jockey Club has seen an increase in pari-mutuel handle on its live product from $296,000,000.00 in 2014 to $425,000,000.00 in 2016. Mr. Ritvo also reported that for the third year in a row the Maryland Jockey Club has increased its live racing schedule, with a goal of 200 live racing days per year. In addition to the increased racing schedule, the Maryland Jockey Club was pursuing the Breeders Cup to hold its races at Laurel Park in 2020 or 2021. Mr. Ritvo also advised that the Maryland Jockey Club had signed agreements with Howard County for the development of a new train station, a 1,200 car parking garage and other development, which included shopping areas and housing. Mr. Ritvo further commented that the Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund advance will be used to construct a three story barn that will contain 84 stalls and a number of dorm rooms and offices for individuals who work on the backside. Mr Ritvo advised that the barn should be completed by next summer.

Maryland Million Update.

Jim Steele, President of the Maryland Million, Ltd., reported that Maryland Million Day was very successful. Mr. Steele further commented that there was a focus on making the experience family friendly, including a magician, face painting and stick ponies. Tim Ritvo of the Maryland Jockey Club commented that the handle on Maryland Million Day showed an increase of 59% since 2014. Mr. Ritvo also noted that the day was flawless, with beautiful weather and a great customer experience.

October VLT Report.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with a VLT report from the month of October and noted no substantial change for the same period from 2015.

Public Comments.

Commissioner Bruce Quade acknowledged that it would be bittersweet to be attending his final Commission meeting, but thanked the Commission for allowing him to serve. Chairman John McDaniel thanked Mr. Quade for his time and service on the Commission.

Lisa Watts, representing Rosecroft Raceway, reminded the Commission and public that on November 22, 2016, Rosecroft would be holding the $100,000.00 Potomac Pace and encouraged everyone to attend.

Cheri Stambaugh commented and congratulated Commissioner Tom Winebrener for having the undefeated two year old filly in the 2016 Maryland program.

Next Commission Meeting.

The next Commission meeting will be held on December 20, 2016, at 12:30 P.M. in the Clubhouse at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director