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With Rally & Racing Cancelled, Racetrackers Regroup

Now that the rally and racing has been canceled today, on this very snowy December 19, 2009, leaders in the horse industry are urging horse people to send a letter to the Anne Arundel County Council Members.  Click here for more background, sample letters and contact information for legislators. Industry leaders are also asking horse people to attend the County Council meeting (44 Calvert Street; Annapolis) on Monday, December 21st to show support for slots at Laurel Racetrack, and to urge the Council to vote against approval zoning for slots at Arundel Mills (because of the negative impact slots at Arundel Mills will have on Laurel’s future). For more background, visit “News Feed” and click on the category “Maryland Racing...

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Feed Fund = Your Money

The 2009 Maryland General Assembly passes legislation, which was then signed by the Governor into law, to increase the feed fund. Instead of collecting $2 per ton of feed sold (about a nickel per bag of feed sold), the State is now collecting $6 per ton of feed sold (about fifteen cents per bag of feed sold). This is on average about $6 per horse per year. This will increase the funding for the Maryland Horse Industry Board from about $75,000 per year to about $225,000 per year. The Maryland Horse Industry Board was created via legislation by the equestrian community for the specific purposes of promoting and growing the industry, and for supporting education and research. Ultimately, the feed fund is your money. So, The Equiery wants to know: how do you think MHIB should prioritize its projects? How should it spend its money? Click here to let us know what you think the money should be used for, or e-mail...

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Council Cowers, Rally Rocks, News at 5 – plus, Laurel’s Christmas Gift To You

Watch this evening’s news for the latest on Laurel! This morning, December 17, 2009, news cameras and reporters descended on Laurel Park for the latest in the slots saga. Anne Arundel County Council members were invited to a meeting by the Maryland Horse Council, to review how, with a new owner come January 9th (the date of the auction), Laurel Park is “shovel-ready” for slots, whereas, according to the Jockey Club’s estimations, it will take close to five years for slots to be up and running at Arundel Mills. The Jockey Club has already obtained all necessary permits and zoning approvals, already has all the environmental impact studies, and everything else they need to immediately adapt the racetrack for slots (see attached). After the Council members refused to attend, a press conference unveiling the “slots-shovel-readiness” of Laurel Park was held, with t.v. cameras and news reporters in full attendance. The Council is scheduled to vote Monday, December 21 on the Cordish request. The theory is that if Arundel Mills were to be approved for slots, Laurel Racetrack’s value will plummet, making it unlikely that anyone will bid on the park as a racetrack – but certainly making the property more appealing to developers, all in all making approval for slots at Arundel Mills a death knell for racing at Laurel. The Equiery agrees that the prospects for Laurel and...

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Slots: In The Trenches of the County Council

Maryland Horse Council president Steuart Pittman testified at the Anne Arundel County Council hearing, Monday, December 7 against the proposed slots casino near the Arundel Mills mall, and he has kindly provided The Equiery readers with the following report:  The Anne Arundel County hearing on slots last night was a sea of mostly red shirts with a scattering of green shirts. The casino developers had held a jobs fair to get names of unemployed people who might be convinced to show up at hearings like this one. They wore green shirts. Red shirts were worn both by horsemen and the residents who live near Arundel Mills. 250 arrived on busses from Laurel Park. It was a long night for those hard working folks who rise at 3 am ever day. County Executive Leopold is an avid supporter of the Cordish plan at Arundel Mills. His representative, Allan Friedman, was given unlimited time to make a very thorough and convincing argument for approval of that plan. At that point things were looking grim. I was out in the lobby still and signed up as #60 on the speaker list. I considered going home. As Mr. Friedman left the hearing room I decided that one should know thy opposition, and I congratulated him on his presentation. He is a damn smart guy who I’d hire as a lawyer any day. I explained...

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Slots: Commission Bites, Council Balks, Cordish Conditional, Horsemen Dangle

December 7, 2009 Scene 1, Baltimore The Maryland Lottery Commission yesterday voted to grant a conditional slots license to Cordish Co.; the approval is contingent that Cordish receive his zoning request to locate the slots parlor next to Arundel Mills. Cut to Scene 2, Annapolis Ostensibly due to the absence of various council members, the Anne Arundel County Council again tabled the zoning request…this time promising a “just in time for Christmas” decision on December 21.  Horsemen and advocates for locating slots at Laurel Park will continue to fight the Arundel Mills location. Where you there? If so, tell us about your experience: Baltimore Sun Explains Why the Council Deferred Daily Record Wrap...

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Carts & Horses: which come first? Find out tonight!

Should Anne Arundel first vote to allow zoning for a slots casino, then Lottery Commission can decide if they are going to grant Cordish a slots liscense…or, should the Lottery Commission first decide whether or not they are going to grant Cordish the license, and then if so, the Council can decide about the zoning. Which is the cart, and which is the horse? If you are not busy tonight and you are interested in the fate of the Maryland Thoroughbred industry, the Anne Arundel County Council zoning hearing is THE place to be this evening. However, before the County Council hearing starts, all the buzz is sure to be about today’s late afternoon meeting of the Maryland State Lottery Commission, in which Commission is expected to vote on the Cordish Corp.’s request for approval for a slots casino near Arundel Mills Mall. Then, the real fun starts around 7 p.m., when busloads of horsemen descend on the Anne Arundel County Council Zoning Hearing, being held at 44 Calvert Street in Annapolis. Today’s zoning hearing will be a living illustration of the old saw “politics make for strange bedfellows,” as horsemen and slots foes alike will be protesting slots at Arundel Mills.  Meanwhile, there continue to be threats to table the zoning vote. If you are attending tonight’s protest, please send The Equiery your thoughts and photos, and we will...

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