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O’Malley Meets with Maryland Equestrians

(Submitted by Jane Seigler, Reddemeade Farm, Ashton, Montgomery County.  Please submit your “meet the candidate” stories to Click here read a story about Ehrlich.) A balmy evening graced an assemblage of about 80 Marylanders who gathered at the historic Dodon Farm in Davidsonville on September 17, in support of the O’Malley/Brown Campaign. In addition to Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, the group also included Secretary of Agriculture Earl “Buddy” Hance, Del. Virginia Clagett, Maryland Farm Bureau President Patricia Langenfelder, former Executive Director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board Rob Burk and his wife Dr. Amy Burk, and of course several generations of the Pittman family, who are lucky enough to own and reside upon that beautiful farm.  Also in attendance were members of the Marlborough Hunt Club, the Maryland Grain Producers Association, the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, and Anne Arundel farmers and landowners. On behalf of the host family, Steuart Pittman welcomed the group, and thanked the O’Malley administration for its work on behalf of Maryland farms in general, and the horse industry in particular. For example: – the O’Malley administration stepped in to overturn the Senate Finance Committee’s recommendation to zero out funding for the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) in the 2010 session. By contrast, the Ehrlich Administration dipped into MALPF money to balance its budget even in good economic times. –...

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More on Question A & the Arundel Mills v. Laurel Park Debate

In the September 2010 issue, the opinion piece titled “Voting Against Slots at Arundel Mills is a Vote Against Racing” caused quite a stir. Unfortunately, most of those responding to the opinion piece by Steuart Pittman preferred not to submit their own written opinion piece, but Bobby Lillis, who advocates on behalf of backstretch workers, posted the following comments to The Equiery. Please Vote Against Question A Personally, I still think slots should be at Laurel Park for a ton of reasons, but the #1 reason is that a casino just 10 minutes away from the racetrack would mean the grandstand would be empty on a daily basis, would be devastating to the Maryland horse industry. Track management will then not be able to raise enough funds for matching improvements to the track, and eventually the track will close. Then, there will be no need for 7% purse supplements from slots revenue because there will be no track to run at. Remember that 33% goes to the operator. If the operator is not Laurel Park, there will be no money for improvements and the track will not be able to afford the millions of dollars to get any matching funds. Breeders and farm guys can continue to run everywhere but Maryland but Maryland backstretch and racetrack employees will be unemployed. So, YES it is worth the effort to support the...

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In Search of Maryland’s Next Horse Industry Executive Director

In Search of Maryland’s Next Horse Industry Executive Director BODY COPY: The Maryland Horse Industry Board is in search of its next Executive Director. MHIB is a quasi-government organization, a unique private/public partnership created by legislation for the purpose of marketing and developing the equine industry and equine-business related opportunities in Maryland. MHIB also oversee the State Stable licensing program, administers and develops grants for education, youth and other endeavors, and supports education and research. The Executive Director may work closely with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Governor’s office and legislators on various industry initiatives. The funding for the Executive Director position comes from the horse industry, from us, via the money we put into the Feed Fund through every bag or ton of feed we purchase. Although the position is administered through the government, ultimately, the Executive Director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board works for the horse people of Maryland, represented by those horse people serving on MHIB in a volunteer, advisory capacity. Board members are appointed by the Governor for four year terms. The legislation that authorizes the existence of the Maryland Horse Industry Board must be reauthorized every few years by the Maryland General Assembly…so ultimately, the horse people of Maryland must approve of the work being done by the MHIB and its Executive Director. This position is critical for the Maryland equestrian community, and...

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Candidate Ehrlich Reaches Out To Equine Industry

Former Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. met with about 30 farmers on Monday, October 4, 2010 on Trego Zimmerman’s farm in Walkersville in Frederick County.  With the skies threatening more rain, it was held in a straw storage barn, adjacent to pens holding Holstein calves.  As the Governor was being introduced by Sen. Brinkley, several bales of straw fell out of the mow, just missing several people below.  Someone yelled, “Too much hot air!”  The Governor smiled and reminded the audience that he wasn’t talking at the time. With that excitement out of the way, Sen. Brinkley told the audience that the equine community was an important part of the state’s economy and that the last four years had been a trying time.  Sen. Brinkley asked Gov. Ehrlich his thoughts regarding the direction he would take for Maryland in the next four years. “Winning this race means an opportunity for agriculture and the equine industry and this sector of the economy in general,” Ehrlich said. “Clearly, if not the number one complaint, then it’s the 1A complaint from all small business across the state of Maryland with an increasingly hostile regulatory climate. This environment is set by the executive.” As he concentrated on what the equine industry has had to face in the past 4 years, he spoke about slots and the current administration’s handling.  “Slots give me...

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Summer 2010 Thoroughbred Racing Summary

A $5.5 Million Pot – Slots Zoning Back On November Ballot – Horsemen Seek Solomon – Penn National Teams up with MJC – Cordish Files Complaint Against Penn National Ah, summer time…and the livin’ is easy… THE PREAKNESS $5.5 While MI Development’s Maryland tracks are mired in mucky slots slop, the Canadian Corporation is moving forward with plans to amp up interest in the 2011 Preakness by offering a $5.5 million dollar bonus to the Preakness winner IF said winner has won two qualifying races at one of MID’s other three tracks (Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, and Golden Gate Fields).  For details, see Liz Farmer’s August 27 article in the Daily Record. or Sandra McKee’s article in the August 27 Baltimore Sun. SLOTS ON THE BALLOT “Yer out!” cries one umpire…errrr, judge; “Safe” cries another! And so goes the long, drawn-out umpteenth inning of the endless ballgame called “Slots in Anne Arundel County”. On June 25, 2010, the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court threw out the now infamous slots referendum. According to the Daily Record, Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Ronald A. Silkworth sided with the plaintiff (Cordish), barring the referendum on the grounds that the constitutional provision and laws allowing for slots were designed to raise money, noting that “appropriations measures are not subject to referendum under the state constitution.” But on Tuesday, July 20, the...

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Jail Time Starts Today, Aug. 2, In Horse Neglect Conviction

After being convicted of fatally neglecting one horse, and having two others seized for neglect, Donna Silver began her jail sentence today, according to the Daily Record. Her husband, Baltimore County attorney Hilton Silver, will begin his 60 day sentence on September 1. Two horses were also seized in March of 2009 for neglect. In addition to the jail time, the couple has been ordered to pay $16,000 in restitution to the county for the care of the two seized horses, will serve five years probation, and is prohibited from owning horses. Hilton Silver may face disbarment. For more details, please see the Danny Jacobs article on The Daily...

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