Get to Know the Maryland Racing Commission
BALTIMORE (May 18, 2018) – The 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes, the Middle Jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, will be held May 19th at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course - the second oldest racetrack in the country. The Preakness is a significant and important contributor to Maryland’s thriving horse industry. As spectators prepare for the exciting event, the Maryland Racing Commission has been working well in advance to ensure the safety and welfare of the horses and their jockeys, as well as to safeguard the confidence of the wagering public.
The Maryland Racing Commission oversees the conduct of all horse racing in Maryland that has pari mutuel wagering. The commission executes its responsibilities on a year-round basis between six operating racetracks: Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park, Timonium Race Track, Fair Hill Races, Rosecroft Raceway, and Ocean Downs.
“The Maryland Racing Commission makes certain the integrity of Maryland’s booming horse industry,” said Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “By assuring the safety of our horses and jockeys, and the trust of our wagering public, the commission protects an industry that adds more than $1.3 billion to our state’s economy, and more than 21,000 jobs.”
The commission employees approximately 22 individuals at each race track, including stewards who oversee the day-to-day operation of the races and enforce the rules of racing; veterinarians who inspect and perform pre-race and post-race physical examinations of the horses; specimen collectors; licensing staff; and investigators who observe and report unusual activity to the stewards.
During Preakness week, additional investigators and veterinarians are employed to observe and test the participating horses for illegal performance-enhancing medications, while the commission coordinates with law enforcement, emergency services, and the media to enact organizational plans that ensure the smooth running of the event for participants and spectators.
With more than 260 live racing days, Maryland is a pivotal point of attraction for racing in the United States. The state has more horses per square mile than any other state in the country, with 25 percent of Maryland’s agricultural land appropriated for horse-related purposes.
“Maryland’s horse industry is a timeless tradition, and integral to the state’s economy,” said Michael Hopkins, Maryland Racing Commission executive director and chairman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. “The Maryland Racing Commission is proud to support that tradition at what is arguably the largest outdoor sporting event in the world. More than 100,000 viewers will have their eyes on Maryland and the Preakness, and we will be there to ensure the safety and welfare of our stars: the horses.”
The Maryland Racing Commission is made up of nine members, without whose assistance this important work could not be done: Chairman Michael Algeo, Dr. Thomas Bowman, Clarissa Coughlin, Ernest Grecco, David Hayden, Tammy Lafferty, Ronald Thomas, Tom Winebrener, and Konrad Wayson.
Learn more about the Maryland Racing Commission.
About Pimlico Race Course
Legendary Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed, American Pharoah and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. More information on Pimlico.
About the Maryland Department of Labor
The Maryland Department of Labor is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We're proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow the Maryland Department of Labor on Twitter (@MD_Labor), Facebook and visit our website.
Director, Communications and Media Relations