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Category: Sports

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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MHBA President On The Jockey Club’s Lack of a Racing Plan

A message posted today to the members of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association from president Tom Bowman, DVM and reposted here with permission. In a unanimous decision the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) rejected Penn National Gaming’s (PNG) bid to become a near 50% partner in the Maryland Jockey Club.  PNG was denied because the MJC had failed to deliver a satisfactory business plan for racing for the 2011 calendar year.  This is despite the fact that the potential partnership of MI Developments (MID) and PNG had been previously granted an extension of the date that the MRC had initially designated for presentation of the “plan”.  Instead of a business plan the MJC had simply requested permission to race a total of 47 days through the spring meet at Pimlico.  The decision to deny by the MRC was absolutely necessary to protect the future of racing in Maryland.  PNG cannot be allowed to interject their business philosophy into the operation of the MJC and the business of racing in Maryland.  PNG is in the business of gambling (games).  Their connection to horse racing is only when and if it is necessary in order to participate in their primary business.  Does anyone really believe their claim that they need more time to sit down with all parties involved and work out a plan for the future of Maryland racing?  As current president of the...

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MD Racing Commission Rejects Reduced Racing

“What’s the difference if we’re dead, shot by 100 bullets, or one to the head? We’re still dead.” Richard Hoffberger to the Maryland Racing Commission, November 29, 2010 On November, 29, 2010, before 300 horsemen and women, the State of Maryland, via the Maryland Racing Commission, unanimously rejected the Laurel/Pimlico proposal presented by owners MI Developments & the Maryland Jockey Club for a drastically truncated racing schedule. Appalled commissioner David Hayden told MI Development, Inc. and proposed investor and business partner Penn National Gaming, Inc. said, “You guys just flat out don’t give a damn!” Testifying against MI Development’s plan were representative from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and the Maryland Horse Council. Summing up the position for all was MTHA’s president Richard Hoffberger who said, “These two short meets are tantamount to no meets at all.” In rejecting the 2011 racing plan, the Commission also rejected Penn National as a part owner of and an investor in the Maryland Jockey Club. As of today, there is no live Thoroughbred racing scheduled for 2011 in Maryland. It is expected that the Maryland Jockey Club/MI Developments will present a new proposal before the Christmas holidays. It is unclear whether or not Penn National will be part of that plan. To read more: The Daily Record The Blood-Horse The Maryland Horse Council The Baltimore Sun The...

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Casino Brings in $11.4 Million in First Month

Perryville Casino Running Strong The one casino currently up and running in Maryland, Hollywood Casino Perryville, raked in $11.4 million in its first month of operation.The Baltimore Sun reported that the casino is currently averaging about $245 a day per machine, a rate that is higher than machines in surrounding states. Still No Bidders for Rocky Gap Slots The deadline for developers to submit bids for the Rocky Gap Lodge slots location came and went, again, on November 9. End of story… for...

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Chaos Within The Club

What a difference a week can make. A fascinating – yet also horrifying and depressing – drama within the Maryland Jockey Club is unfolding before our eyes, chronicled in all the major area dailies, as one executive after another throws colleagues under the proverbial bus. On Tuesday, November 2, Voters Green Light Slots at Arundel Mills But you knew that. On Wednesday, November 3, Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas Declares Laurel Will Shut Down Live Racing In response to the Arundel Mills victory, the Maryland Daily Record reported that MJC President Tom Chuckas said that the Jockey Club would immediately begin dialing back their Maryland racing operations, including their plans to host only 40 days of live racing a year at Pimlico, closing the Bowie Training Center, turning Laurel Park into an off-track betting site and developing the land. On Monday, November 8, Stronach Hangs Both Chuckas and Hoffberger Out To Dry Over the weekend, Frank Stronach, owner of MI Development (which owns 51% of the Maryland Jockey Club) hung Chuckas out to dry, when he told The Baltimore Sun’s Jay Hancock that they will “keep the tracks open and more or less run reasonably the same days that we ran the last two years.” Richard Hoffberger, president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, was quick to take credit for this supposed change of Stronach’s mind, claiming that...

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More News From the November Print Edition

It seems that things are really hopping in the Maryland horse world these days and we ran out of room in our November print edition for the following stories. Thankfully, the World Wide Web is not constrained by page counts. Rescued West Virginia Horses Get Care in Maryland Fifty-three horses and two cows were seized on September 11 by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department in West Virginia from the Hidden Meadows Equine Rescue farm near Martinsburg. Eight of these horses were taken to Days End Farm in Lisbon for intensive care treatment. One of the eight was so emaciated that she died shortly after arriving at Day End. The remaining seven horses are all receiving around-the-clock treatment by the Days End staff and veterinarians from Monocacy Equine. One of the horse, Zodiac, remains in a sling due to a lameness in his left hind, as well as for other reasons. Days End staff worry that without the support of the sling, he would not be able to catch himself should he stumble or lie down. To read more about the WV horses at Days End, visit their blog at http://www.defhrhorses.org/apps/blog/ First Casino in Maryland Opens Its Doors In the first four days of operation, the Hollywood Casino Perryville had more than 21,000 visitors come through its doors. The casino is the first to open in Maryland and holds 1,500...

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