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Minutes of Public Meeting - October 26, 2017

Commission Members Present:

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

Members Absent:

Ernest Grecco


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 October 26, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland.

Chairman Mike Algeo welcomed the public to the meeting. Further, the Chairman congratulated everyone involved in the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day. Chairman Algeo noted that the day had the feel of Preakness Day, except that it was uniquely Maryland. Chairman Algeo also thanked Willie White for hosting him at the event.

Minutes – September 28, 2017.
The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting of September 28, 2017. Chairman Algeo commented that the date for Veterans Day was incorrect. Noting the correction, the Commission unanimously voted to approve the minutes.

2018 Racing Dates.
The Commission was provided with the 2018 racing date requests as follows:
Maryland Jockey Club – January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 for 171 days of live racing;
Maryland State Fair – August 24, 2018 through September 30, 2018 for 10 days of live racing;
Ocean Downs Raceway – January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 for 48 days of live racing; and
Rosecroft Raceway – January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 for 60 days of live racing.

Included in each request was a request to import and export the races the licensees find marketable throughout the year. The Commission voted unanimously to approve each request separately and approved the request from the Maryland Jockey Club contingent on the approval of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which was subsequently approved by the Horsemen on Monday October 30, 2017.

Riverboat on the Potomac.
The Commission was advised by Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins that he received an application from the Riverboat on the Potomac to renew its Satellite Simulcast Betting permit for 2018. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Suspensions –Individuals Holding Multiple Licenses.
Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins reported that a committee representing the Commission, racetracks and horsemen met to discuss the idea of suspending a horse during the time period a trainer was suspended for a positive drug test of the horse. Mr. Hopkins noted that the consensus of the committee was not to suspend the horse. The committee did recommend that the Stewards and Judges be provided guidelines concerning a trainer transferring horses to another trainer during a suspension. The goal being that a true transfer of the horse would need to be demonstrated.

The committee also discussed amending the claiming rule in a manner that would not permit a trainer, who also had a license as an owner, to claim a horse while his trainer’s license was under suspension. Mr. Hopkins noted that he would be processing the request to amend the claiming rule through the Secretary and would bring it back for a vote as a proposed regulation at a later date.

Maryland Horse Breeders Strategic Plan.
Willie White, President of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association (“MHBA”), presented the Commission members with a strategic plan and overview of the Maryland Horse Breeders. Mr. White explained that once the Commission members had the opportunity to read the plan, the MHBA will provide an overview of the current status of horse breeders in Maryland, demonstrate to its members and the legislature the success the MHBA achieved during the last several years and where the MHBA expects to be in the future.

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

Public Comments.
Tom Cooke representing the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association reported that the committee discussed the use of a pre-race blood gas analyzer at Rosecroft. Mr. Hopkins responded that he was still looking into the cost of equipment and having properly trained personnel to operate the equipment. Mr. Cooke also noted that he was in the minority of the stakeholders that believed the horse should be suspended after a positive test, but understood the concerns of the other stakeholders. Chairman Algeo thanked Mr. Cooke and reminded him that the Commission would continue to examine the issue.

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

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director