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Minutes of Public Meeting - September 20, 2016

Commission Members Present:

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

Members Absent:
David Hayden

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 September 20, 2016, commencing at 12:30 p.m. at Laurel Park, Laurel, Maryland. Chairman John McDaniel commented that the record should reflect the gratitude of the Commission for the service of former Commissioner Charles Tildon for all of his work during his tenure on the Commission. Chairman McDaniel noted that Mr. Tildon was not reappointed to the Commission and introduced new Commissioner Ronald Thomas and welcomed him to the Commission.

Minutes – July 12, 2016.

The Commission waived a reading of the minutes of its meeting of July 12, 2016, and voted unanimously to approve them.

Medication Review Committee:

Commissioner Dr. Thomas Bowman reported that the Medication Review Committee had met on October 7, 2016 and developed a number of recommendations for the Commission to consider. In summary, Dr. Bowman made the following recommendations to the Commission:

  1. Adopt the Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances and Recommended Penalties.
  2. Help promote the local and national efforts to remodel the current grouping of Class 4 drugs.
  3. Encourage, on a national level, expedited efforts to establish tolerance levels of as many Class 4 drugs as possible.
  4. Encourage the RCI to eliminate the "double" points penalty assessment for all Class 4 drugs for which tolerance levels have not been defined by assessing a single point penalty to all Class 4 violations.
  5. Task the racing Stewards to follow the RCI guidelines per se. Establish a process by which a trainer or owner may appeal a penalty based upon "mitigating circumstances". Maintain the ability of both owner and trainer to be heard in front of the Racing Commission, when necessary.
  6. Hire an Equine Veterinary Medical and Welfare Director as soon as possible.
  7. Issue to all trainers and owners a current copy of Maryland Racing Commission Medication Guidelines.
  8. Issue the same document to all members of the Racing Commission as well as other pertinent documents describing their duties and responsibilities.
  9. Direct a specific person, group or organization to establish an ongoing public awareness campaign concerning current medication policies and future initiatives.

Chairman McDaniel thanked Dr. Bowman and commented that the proposals would be circulated to all of the stakeholders for their comment and input and discussed at the next meeting.

Maryland Bred Bonus - Preakness.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that House Bill 965 had passed during the 2016 legislative session, which requires the Commission, with consultation from the racing industry, to develop a bonus award program for Maryland bred horses that run in the Preakness Stakes. Mr. Hopkins further explained that the State Lottery had transferred $500,000.00 to the Commission to fund the program. Mr. Hopkins recommended that a small committee be established consisting of Commissioner David Hayden, Sal Sinatra from the Maryland Jockey Club and Cricket Goodall from the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The Commission voted unanimously to form the Committee.

Final Regulation 09.10.03.01 -01.

The Commission was presented with a final regulation that would 1) establish thresholds for Cetirizine, Cimetidine, Guaifenesin, Ranitidine; and 2) increase the threshold for Omeprazole and Xylazine. The Commissioners were informed that this amendment had been properly published for the required number of days as proposed, and that no comments had been received. Hearing no objection, the Commission voted to approve the regulation for final adoption.

Final Regulations 09.10.01.25 and 09.10.02.19.

The Commission was presented with a final regulation that would eliminate all license fees associated with individuals who participate in racing at both the thoroughbred and the standardbred tracks. Mr. Hopkins commented that the individuals will still be required to obtain a license before being allowed to participate. Mr. Hopkins further suggested that the effective date for these regulations be January 1, 2017 to coincide with the new license year. The Commissioners were informed that this amendment had been properly published for the required number of days as proposed, and that no comments had been received. Hearing no objection, the Commission voted to approve the regulation for final adoption.

Regulation Review Process.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that earlier in the year he had asked the industry stakeholders to review the current regulations and provide him with any suggestions to amend, delete or clarify any of the current regulations. This process had been started by Commissioner Quade and has also been required by Governor Hogan’s Regulation Review Committee, which has been tasked to review regulations throughout each department. Mr. Hopkins further commented that he has received a number of recommendations from the thoroughbred and standardbred industries and asked that all stakeholders review the submission. Mr. Hopkins was not asking the Commission to take any action on the proposals, but was simply asking for the stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed changes. The Commission thanked Mr. Hopkins for the information and suggested he distribute the changes he has received to all stakeholders for their comments.

Maryland Jockey Club – NYRA Bets.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins informed the Commission that he has received a request from the Maryland Jockey Club asking for approval for NYRA Bets, an account wagering company, to operate in Maryland and establish accounts for Maryland residents. Mr. Hopkins also stated that the required surety bond is in place and that the horsemen and breeders support the initiative. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Maryland Jockey Club – Racing Facility Redevelop Fund.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with a request from the Maryland Jockey Club for reimbursement of $779,675.00 from their portion of the Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund for totalizator terminals at Laurel Park and $342,249.00 for the installation of the new wash stalls in Barn #1. Mr. Hopkins further stated that the request had been reviewed by the Commission’s Certified Public Accountant and deemed an appropriate request. Hearing no objection, the Commission unanimously approved the request.

Maryland Jockey Club - Update.

Tim Ritvo representing the Maryland Jockey Club reported the third barn at Laurel Park is under construction and the design of the fourth barn is completed. Mr. Ritvo stated that the fourth barn will be a traditional barn with 80 stalls and 110 dorm rooms for backstretch workers. Mr. Ritovo further advised that the Maryland Jockey Club is also negotiating with MGM for an Off Track Betting site at National Harbor as well as making renovations to Rosecroft Raceway. Chairman McDaniel suggested that one of the Commission meetings be held at Rosecroft. Commissioner Lafferty commented that the new infield tote board at Rosecroft was a big improvement. Sal Sinatra representing the Maryland Jockey Club reported on the increased growth of the pari-mutuel handle at Laurel Park. Commissioner Grecco asked about the progress of the Maryland Stadium Authority Report on Pimlico. Mr. Ritvo responded that he believed the first phase of the report would be finished by the first of the year.

Tom Cooke – President – CSOA.

Tom Cooke, President of the Cloverleaf Standabred Owners’ Association, reported on the success of the recently concluded Ocean Downs race meeting. As for the start of the Rosecroft race meeting, Mr. Cooke, on behalf of the horsemen, thanked the Maryland Jockey Club for improving the Rosecroft facility. In addition, Mr. Cooke expressed his concerns over “program” trainers and the need to enforce true penalties. Chairman McDaniel thanked Mr. Cooke for his comments.

August VLT Report.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins presented the Commission with a VLT report from the month of August and commented that the National Harbor facility is expected to open sometime during the first week of December.

Public Comment.

Cricket Goodall reported that the Horse Land Exhibit at the State Fair drew approximately 30,000 people and that the economic survey of the horse industry would be completed in early October. Robert Lillis of the Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Fund thanked the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the Maryland Jockey Club for all of the improvements made to the backstretch. Becky Brashear representing the Maryland State Fair thanked everyone for their support, advising that attendance at the State Fair was the 2nd best in its history.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins reminded the Commission that a public meeting would be held at the Perryville Casino at 6:00 p.m. on October 5, 2016 for the application to conduct Satellite Simulcast Betting at the casino.

Next Commission Meeting.

The next Commission meeting will be held on October 18, 2016, at 12:30 P.M. in the Clubhouse at Ocean Downs, Berlin, Maryland.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director