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Penn Wants Out of Laurel/Pimlico; Says It Will Revive Rosecroft

UPDATE March 24, 2011 Senate Bill 373 (which would prohibit the kind of fighting we had over the slots license for Anne Arundel), which passed the Senate and crossed into the House, will be heard on March 29 in the House. Its companion bill in the House, HB 868, received a favorable report (with amendments) as well. Scroll down for more information. Originally Published March 16, 2011 The Maryland horse world, a $1.6 billion dollar economic impact engine in Maryland, is fairly evenly divided between the racing industries and the sport/pleasure industries. The Equiery’s focus is the sport/pleasure aspect of our community, but we keep an eye on what our cousins are doing in the racing world. We don’t exist in a vacuum, and what happens (or doesn’t happen) in racing eventually affects us one way or the other. And if there is one thing you can say about our racing cousins is that things are never dull on their side of the stable yard. They certainly have a lot of drama going on at all times, but the drama always seems to reach its frenzied heights during the legislative session. And this year is no different. Read on (or scroll down) for the latest drama…but in the meantime, The Equiery would like to take this moment to announce that “The Lady Legends” will return to Black-Eyed Susan Day...

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81,000 Horses in Maryland

See March issue, now in stores, for a complete analysis! On Tuesday, February 8, 2011, the Maryland Department of Agriculture released the results of the 2010 Equine Census, which did a little more than just count noses; it yielded some economic data, land use data and much more. The study values the horse industry’s assets at $5.6 billion and expenditures just under $513 million. According to the 2010 study, there are approximately 81,000 equine animals in Maryland, down 7% or  about 6,000 from 2002. The numbers – while down – are not nearly as down as industry leaders feared, despite a steady exodus of racing-related breeding operations, and that is good news. The value of the equine inventory on May 1, 2010, was just over $746 million, up 10% from 2002.  The number of equine places throughout Maryland decreased 21% from 2002 and includes boarding facilities, commercial and private breeding places, farms, commercial race related places and private residence where recreational equine are kept. Again, the decrease in the number of facilities is not surprising and it fits with trends seen in Maryland breeding associations, show organizations and even here, at The Equiery. Have you seen our real estate section lately? There are some good buys out there for anyone who wants to take leap of faith and jump into the horse biz! These 81,000 horses are located at...

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Penn National buys Rosecroft for $10.25 million; Channel 13 features Maryland Horseman of the Year

Penn National continues to expand its Maryland gaming empire. In addition to its ownership stake in the Maryland Jockey Club (which owns Laurel Park and Pimlico), Penn National owns Maryland’s first active slots parlor, Perryville Hollywood Casinos in Cecil County. Now, Penn has plunked down a cool $10+ million for the shuttered Rosecroft just outside of Washington D.C. in Prince George’s County. According to news reports, Penn National intends to reopen harness racing at Rosecroft as well as lobby for slots at Rosecroft, just as they are doing for Laurel. All of these efforts will require changes to the Maryland Constitution, as Maryland law does not allow one owner to hold more than one slots license, nor does Maryland law currently allow more than one slots parlor in Anne Arundel (and the Cordish Companies already hold the slots license designated for the Anne Arundel County area). Rosecroft is also not a dedicated slots location in Maryland law. Penn National outbid two others for the bankrupt racetrack, including Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos. The sale still needs to be approved by the bankruptcy court. Meanwhile, this evening, Orioles Park will host the celebration for the Maryland Horse Council’s Maryland Horse Person of the Year, Bob Eldredge (7 p.m. in The Warehouse at Camden Yards. In a refreshing change from the racing drama that dominates “equine industry news” on t.v., WJZ’s...

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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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Governor Asks For Sit Down With Jockey Club Owners

Can We Make A Deal? On Monday, December 6, 2010 representatives from the Governor’s office will meet with representatives from MI Development, Inc. and Penn National Gaming, Inc. (which own the Maryland Jockey Club and Laurel, Pimlico and the Bowie Training Center), the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (which manages the contracts with MJC on behalf of the trainers) and the Maryland Horse Breeders Association (the Thoroughbred breeders). According to the Baltimore Sun, it is the intent of the Governor’s office to broker some sort of agreement in order to ensure a healthy 2011 racing calendar for Maryland. Live – You’re On The Air On Tuesday, December 7, the Dan Rodricks radio show (noon – 1 p.m.) on 88.1 WYPR will feature Maryland Racing Commission chairman Louis Ullman, Cordish Co. president Joe Weinberg, Maryland Horse Council president Steuart Pittman, Thoroughbred breeder Cynthia McGinnes, and reporter Liz Farmer. Horse people are encouraged to call into the show to share their views of the current situation with the racing industry:...

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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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