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Category: Sports

The November Elections: Equiery Contributors on Jennings, Wargotz & (of course) Slots

The November print edition is now in stores! Check here for the store nearest to you. THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS In the battle for the ballot, here are the final round of comments from Equiery readers regarding candidates and issues. Good luck to all on November 2. JB Jennings – He is One of Us from Lauren Rider of Bel Air J.B. Jennings was elected to serve as Delegate in the Maryland Legislature in 2002, and is now running for State Senator for District 7. He is one of the few real horse people in the Maryland legislature. He owns a boarding farm with his wife Michelle, and he can routinely be seen Feeding, turning out, blanketing, wrapping or doing whatever the horses need. He and Michelle live directly above the stalls (and get to listen to them kick the walls all night long in the winter time.) He has spent 12 years in the equine feed industry and understands all aspects of the equine industry and it various challenges. In the Maryland State Legislature, he has always been a friend of the Maryland equestrian community, and has been an ardent supporter of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, helping to secure annual funding for the Board through the Maryland Feed Fund. ****************** Dr. Eric Wargotz: Horses are Ag! He gets it! from Royce Herman of Centreville Two years ago,when Eric...

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Readers Respond!

Readers have been responding to The Equiery’s recent News posts. In response to the entire state of politics in the Free State – particularly as it applies to our racing industry, Bob Vechery writes: “Sometimes it is very difficult having been born, raised and residing in such a stupid state as Maryland.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the climate, the “America in Miniature,” and just about everything else about Maryland, except the politics.  Democrats have successfully destroyed the second largest multi-billion dollar industry in the state.  While every other state around us implemented slots, the democrats did nothing.  When we finally voted in Republican Bob Eurlich to save us, Democrats Miller and Bush never allowed the legislation to move forward in fear Republican Eurlich would look good, never caring about the people of Maryland or the horse industry.  Now instead of showing a surplus, we are billions in debt thanks to Democrats Miller and Bush who are still in office, and O’Malley does not have a clue.  All the Maryland horse industry wants is a level playing field with its competitor states, gambling should remain at the tracks, benefitting the tracks and the people of Maryland, unfortunately it is probably to late due solely due to the democrats currently and previously in office.” In response to the issue of slots at Arundel Mills Mall, Christina Weber writes: “Gambling at the mall is gambling without the...

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Question A: A Referendum On The Heart of the Horse Industry

QUIERY COMMENT Question A: A Referendum on the Heart, Soul and Dreams of the Horse Industry In the September issue of The Equiery (see archives), Steuart Pittman laid out a complex argument for why horse people should be supportive of the current zoning legislation that would allow a slots parlor at Arundel Mills Mall to move forward. The crux of the argument to support Question A is that Question A would allow zoning for slots at either Arundel Mills or Laurel Park. If Anne Arundel County citizens vote in favor of Question A, then Anne Arundel County zoning would allow slots at either Laurel Park or Arundel Mills; because of approvals already in place with the Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission, Arundel Mills owner, the Cordish Company,  would be able to move forward with a slots parlor at Arundel Mills, leaving Laurel Park out of the game, but still generating some (if not as much) revenue for racing. Were the good citizens of Anne Arundel County to vote against Question A because they want slots at Laurel Park, not Arundel Mills, there is no guarantee that Laurel Park would still be able to get slots. If Question A fails, zoning is not only denied to Arundel Mills, it is also denied to Laurel Park. The process would have to start over, with no guarantee that slots would ever...

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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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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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Judge Blocks Slots Zoning Referendum

In the endless series of lawsuits regarding exactly where slots will go in Anne Arundel County, a judge has sided with the Cordish Company against the Maryland Jockey Club. In case you have not been following the continuing slots debacle, or are a tad confused as to “Who’s on First, What’s On Second,” the elevator summary is as follows: –    The Maryland Jockey Club failed to follow the correct procedures when applying to the Maryland State Video Lottery Commission for the right to have slots at Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County. –    Meanwhile, the Cordish Companies followed the required procedures in their application to the VLC to open a slots casino near Arundel Mills Mall in Anne Arudenl County. –    Anne Arundel County has no provisions in its zoning codes to allow for slots anywhere, so it had to create zoning for slots; the Anne Arundel County Commission approved two zoning options, one allowing slots only at the race track and the other allow slots anywhere in the County within the bounds described in the amendment to the Maryland State Constitution which allowed for slots. –    When it came time to sign one or both bills into law, the Anne Arundel County Executive decided to choose the options that aligned with the Maryland State Constitution…and that was the option to allow slots at either the Laurel Park site...

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