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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
BREAKING NEWS: The Ultimate Lady Legend, Kathy Kusner, to join the Lady Legends Turfside Lunch at the Black-Eyed Susan!
One of the greatest female equestrians ever, Kathy Kusner, will be joining us at Turfside Terrace Lady Legend Lunch, this Friday, May 14, at the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico Race Course! In addition to being the first licensed female jockey in the United States (after a groundbreaking 1968 lawsuit) and the first female to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup (the world’s biggest timber race), Kusner rode on three Olympic show jumping teams (silver medal in Munich ’72) and in two Pan Am Games Her combined show jumping career, flat track and steeplechase career certainly make her the epitome of the Lady Legend! So, if you were playing with the idea of going, but had not yet made up your mind, now is the time to decide…the opportunity to meet all these legendary female riders may never happen again. Believe me, if I didn’t close The Equiery offices and take everyone to this lunch, my staff would string me up by my toes. This is really a big deal! So, it IS going to be a great day, and many of our friends and clients have already purchased either tables (Stable Tables are $900 each for 10 seats) or individual tickets ($100 each), the Turfside Terrace is quite spacious and there are still plenty of tickets and tables available. We understand that there have been some problems ordering tickets…DO...Read More
On April 30, Governor Martin O’Malley, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Tom Chuckas, President and CEO of the Maryland Jockey Club, addressed the settlement agreement that ensures the Preakness will remain in Maryland. “For 134 years (and counting) the Preakness Stakes has been run in the State of Maryland and has belonged to the people of our state,” said Governor O’Malley. “The Preakness Covenant will ensure that people of Maryland continue to enjoy this time-honored tradition, and that the State of Maryland and City of Baltimore will continue to realize the economic benefits of this annual event. I want to thank Attorney General Doug Gansler, and his staff for working quickly and aggressively with us with us to secure the future of the Preakness Stakes right here where it belongs in Maryland.” “When Magna entered bankruptcy last year, working with the Governor’s Office, the Office of Attorney General immediately drafted emergency legislation granting Maryland condemnation authority over Magna’s Maryland assets, including Preakness,” said Attorney General Gansler. “That law, in conjunction with the State’s existing right of first refusal over any transfer of Pimlico, gave Maryland the hammer we needed to work out an agreement with new owner MID. I’m pleased that we were able to provide the legal support to the Governor to ensure the Preakness forever remains a Maryland tradition.” “This is wonderful...Read More