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Racing Rundown

Will Delaware’s new sports betting hurt future Maryland slots? Numbers are up at Dover Downs. Cecil County bid okeyed for additional slots, vote for license expected this week. Could Pimlico become the “Disney” of racing? Verstandig’s vision. Track auction set for Jan. 8, and De Francis wants back...

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Pimlico and Laurel Back on the Auction Block

On Friday, October 9, the Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to auction its Maryland racetracks. This request is after Magna announced over the summer that the tracks would not be auctioned. Magna has placed a condition on the bid requests that the Preakness Stakes remain at Pimlico under the track’s new ownership. The Baltimore Sun reported today that the auction date is proposed for January 8, 2010 with a deadline of November 2, 2009 for potential bids. So far, Baltimore developer David S. Cordish and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos, have both expressed interest in the tracks. To read the complete story, click here: The Baltimore...

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Finally! Maryland issues its first license for slots.

Now that Maryland has issued its first license for a slots parlor at Ocean Downs near Ocean City, Don Fry, chair of the state’s Video Lottery Facility Location Commission, tells The Equiery in an exclusive interview with Ross Peddicord what’s up with the rest of the license applications, how soon Maryland horsemen can expect to see some of their share of the revenue in their winning purse & breeders’ award checks, and what to look for in 2010 as the slots licensing process and opening of the first slots casinos takes place. Stay tuned for more!  To read more about the the approval of Ocean Downs, see the Daily Record. Ross Peddicord is a publisher of Maryland Life...

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Barn Fire Kills Seven Horses

At 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, September 27, Lauren Elliot awoke to a barn fire at the Royal Equestrian Center in Chesapeake City and immediately called 911 before she and others tried to free the horses trapped inside. According to The Baltimore Sun, it took 75 firefighters 45 minutes to control the three-alarm blaze, which claimed the life of seven horses and injured one firefighter. The damage is estimated at $1 million, which includes the unsalvageable barn, part of the indoor arena and the value of the seven horses. Marie Elliot owns the farm, which is run by her granddaughter Lauren Elliot and grandson Jason Elliott. Marie is a long time dressage trainer and Lauren specializes in dressage as well as eventing. Lauren owned three of the horses killed. The other four belonged to boarders. A memorial “gathering” will take place at the Royal Equestrian Center on Sunday October 4 to pay tribute to the deceased horses. Other activities to raise funds for rebuilding, including an Event Derby run by the St. Augustine Pony Club, will occur throughout the next few months. Please visit the coming events section of our website for...

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How Many Unwanted Horses Are There?

The Unwanted Horse Coalition Releases National Survey Results The findings from the Unwanted Horse Coalition’s (UHC) Study on Contributing Factors Surrounding the Unwanted Horse Issue are now available at www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org.  The study is the first of its kind to assess the causes and magnitude of the unwanted horse population in the United States. Results indicate that the problem of unwanted horses is perceived to be growing on many fronts. More than 90% of participants believe the number of unwanted horses, as well as those neglected and abused, is increasing. Almost all participants (87%) indicate that in the past year, the issue of unwanted horses has become “a big problem,” compared with only 22% who said the problem was important three years ago. Respondents also report that the number of horses being euthanized is increasing. In light of one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history, the economy is considered to be a significant contributor to the unwanted horse problem. The closing of the nation’s processing facilities, changes in breed demand/indiscriminate breeding, as well as the high costs of euthanasia and carcass disposal are also cited by respondents as major contributors. Regarding placement options for unwanted horses, 63% of equine rescue/retirement facilities polled report they are at near or full capacity and, on average, turn away 38% of the horses brought to them. Capacity is clearly the issue in that as...

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MARYLAND RACETRACKS DELVE INTO BRAVE NEW WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

by Ross Peddicord – Maryland Life “Hey there’s a sure thing running in the 4th race at Pimlico!” The in-house handicapper at Maryland racetracks hasn’t gotten around to tweeting that sort of hot tip yet to racing fans, but the Maryland Jockey Club tracks have begun delving into the brave new world of social media and using it as a marketing tool to attract new fans and to keep existing ones in the loop. There’s a Laurel Facebook page (as well as ones for Pimlico, Preakness and the Infield Fest), the track’s Aug. 22 Family Fun Day was advertised on Craigslist (the jockeys engaged in a Rody Pony race! Google Rody Ponies on the web to find out what this is about), ad banners for special race days are placed on washingtonpost.com, there is an active group of bloggers alerting fans on track happenings (such as the aspiringhorseplayer.com) and there are Laurel accounts both on My Space and Twitter. “Hey there is a reggae band playing during the twilight racing card on Friday evening at Laurel. Come on out, it’s a lot of fun.” If you are a Twitter follower of Megan Forshey, you heard it first from her Tweet, sent out to hundreds of followers from her Twitter account. Megan is the 20-something marketing specialist at the Maryland Jockey Club tracks who is devoting more and more of...

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