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MHBA President on Heroes in the Horse Industry

A message posted today to the members of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association from president Tom Bowman, DVM. Yesterday the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) held an emergency meeting to consider what Chairman Ulman called a “revision of a revision” of a business plan for racing next year.  This meeting convened just about 24 hours after the Commission had unanimously rejected the Maryland Jockey Club’s (MJC) revision of their initial plan presented to the MRC on November 29th.  The regularly scheduled meetings of the MRC had been marked by a series of testimonies from the representative of various horsemen’s organizations and track management as well as individuals involved in all aspects of the Maryland racing community.  The tone of both meetings was one of disappointment, distrust and rejection of the MJC’s proposal(s) to conduct less than a “full year” (146 days) of live racing in 2011.  The impasse that had evolved seemed insurmountable.  Privately the MJC had agreed to run 146 days if the MTHA and MHBA would offer assurances of certain sources of funding that would essentially eliminate the potential operating losses that would be incurred in 2011.  These losses were estimated to be as much as $7 million.  The horsemen had pledged a direct cash contribution of $1.7 million and their support for legislation that would redirect slot revenue already designated towards track improvement into a fund for track operating...

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Horse industry victorious! Yes, Maryland, there will be a Preakness in 2011.

Like a happy ending out of a traditional holiday tale, Christmas has been saved for thousands of horse owners, breeders, trainers, backstretch workers, vets, farriers and oh-so-many more. Late Wednesday, December 22, 2010, the Maryland Racing Commission approved a deal crafted that morning during closed door negotiations between the Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and brokered by Governor O’Malley. Maryland will have a 2011 Preakness, and Maryland will have 146 live days of Thoroughbred racing at Laurel and Pimlico – guaranteed, which is what the horsemen demanded or they were going to cut the simulcast of live racing at the Maryland tracks. MTHA and MHBA were able to secure what they sought (146 days of live racing) without having to sacrifice their simulcasting rights and without the closure of the Bowie training track. They did agree to contribute $1.7 million to the tracks’ operating costs, and O’Malley agreed that the state would redirect towards operating costs the slots revenue originally earmarked for track improvements. MJC apparently lost their quest to cancel racing at any time after the Preakness, lost their demand to close Bowie this year, and lost their request to have MTHA and MHBA fund their lobbying activities. However, the horsemen did say that they would support closing Bowie in the future if MJC agreed to put in 650 permanent...

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Once Again, Maryland Racing Commission Rejects Jockey Club Plan

SUBJECT LINE: Once Again, Maryland Racing Commission Rejects Jockey Club Plan By the time this print edition of The Equiery hits the streets, we sincerely hope that what is true as of press time will not be true as of January 1, 2011. As of press, there will be no 2011 Preakness. As of press, there will be no racing at Laurel or Pimlico on 2011. After having their hat handed to them by the Maryland Racing Commission on November 29 CROSS REFERENCE DATE, the owners of the Maryland Jockey Club (MI Development, Inc. and – for all intents and purposes, Penn National Gaming, Inc. CROSS REFERENCE FORMAL NAME) scrambled to produce a plan that would be palatable to Maryland’s racing interests. They failed. At 5 p.m. on Dec. 20, with the Maryland Racing Commission hearing the next day, MI Development submitted their proposal to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the Maryland Horse Breeders Associations – each of which would have to agree to a laundry list of concessions – and to the Maryland Racing Commission, who would have to then approve the plan. The Jockey Club’s plan, the Jockey Club would agree to 146 days of racing (a combination of spring and fall dates) if, and only if, the horsemen agreed to give up all their simulcasting rights, the MTHA agreed to kick in $1.7 million dollars...

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Ross Peddicord: MHIB’s New Executive Director

The search for Rob Burk’s replacement has ended, and we cannot think of a more worthy successor to Rob’s legacy than Ross Peddicord. The Maryland horse industry is the blood coursing through Ross’s veins, or, as he puts it, “I am a Maryland boy, through and through.” A lifelong horseman, Ross grew up on a farm in Howard County, attended the McDonough School where he roomed with Bruce Davidson, rode on the equestrian team and then graduated as a lieutenant from their mounted cavalry unit. He then attended Washington College in Chestertown, where he hunted extensively with Mr. Hubbard’s Kent County Hounds, continued to show and to ride in point-to-points. After graduating from college, Ross’ career galloped through all aspects of the Maryland horse industry. He was a freelance writer for the Maryland Horse magazine (today the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), an ad manager for the Horsemen’s Journal (now defunct), a racehorse trainer, and the assistant director for public relations at the Maryland Jockey Club for the Laurel/Pimlico and Bowie race tracks. But Ross is probably best known for his 18-year career as the award-winning race journalist for The Baltimore Sun. During that time, he and his now-former wife Stephanie established Brush Hill Farm in New Market, where they bred, raised and exhibited Thoroughbreds, including six grand champions at the Maryland State Fair, several Maryland Horse Show Association in-hand champions, and...

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Dec. 21: what will Santa give to racing?

On Friday, December 10, 2010 MI Development, Inc. (majority owner of the Maryland Jockey Club) put forth a proposal for 77 days of racing to conclude with the Preakness, with the promise to continue negotiations during that time for race days in the remainder of the year. The 77 days are more than the 47 originally proposed, but not the 146-day annual calendar previously established. Many in the horse industry speculate that this is just a maneuver to secure the Preakness,  and that MID has no intention of continuing the negotiations for more race dates after the Preakness. Of course, the plan would have to be approved by the Maryland Racing Commission, which meets again on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 12:30 p.m. in the Ruffian Room at Laurel Park. The meeting is open to the general public, and – if the last meeting is any indicator – we can expect hundreds of horse people to show up. If a race plan is presented to the Maryland Racing Commission that is deemed unacceptable by the racing community, the Maryland Horse Council (the umbrella organization for all horse organizations and all horse people in Maryland), is urging the Commission to pass a resolution  calling on the Governor to intervene by exercising the 2009 Save Maryland Racing Law. According to MHC president Steuart Pittman, “That law, Title 11-521 of the Business Regulation,...

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Vough’s View From The Hay Mow, December 2010

WESTMINSTER HAY AUCTION WEEKLY PRICES (Per bale) Date Alfalfa Alfalfa Mix Timothy Timothy Mix Grass Mix Gr. Mix Round # Lots Sold 10/5/10 3.50-4.00 3.20-4.60 3.00-3.10 4.00-4.20 14.00 13 (rainy) 10/12/10 4.00-4.50 3.50-4.60 3.90-4.50 2.90-3.90 2.50-4.70 23.00 52 10/19/10 4.00-5.60 3.00-3.40 3.60-5.35 2.60-3.80 1.70-3.70 21.00 24 10/26/10 5.70-6.10 3.50-5.10 3.50-4.90 3.00-3.70 3.00-4.90 15.00 55 11/2/10 3.20-4.90 4.10-6.00 1.90-4.60 1.40-5.50 2.80 10.00-36.00 128 11/9/10 5.30-5.50 3.80-6.30 2.70-5.20 1.40-5.60 2.00-6.10 17.50-35.00 123 The Equiery welcomes legendary hay man Les Vough to our pages; in print and online. For 34 years, Les served as the Extension forage specialist, first for Oregon State University and later for the University of Maryland. Recently retired, he now serves as a consultant to federal and state agencies. Les will offer his analysis and prognostications of the current and coming hay situation in Maryland. After moving upward in early October, hay prices have generally remained stable or even moved somewhat higher, especially for the higher quality grass hays.  As I have said in previous articles, the supply of high quality hay this year is limited and dwindling with each week that goes by.  That is likely the reason that prices for high quality hay, especially grass hays preferred by horse owners, keep rising. If you want high quality hay but have not yet secured it, do it soon.  The sooner you buy hay to meet your needs...

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