On Friday, December 10, 2010 MI Development, Inc. (majority owner of the Maryland Jockey Club) put forth a proposal for 77 days of racing to conclude with the Preakness, with the promise to continue negotiations during that time for race days in the remainder of the year. The 77 days are more than the 47 originally proposed, but not the 146-day annual calendar previously established.

Many in the horse industry speculate that this is just a maneuver to secure the Preakness,  and that MID has no intention of continuing the negotiations for more race dates after the Preakness.

Of course, the plan would have to be approved by the Maryland Racing Commission, which meets again on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 12:30 p.m. in the Ruffian Room at Laurel Park. The meeting is open to the general public, and – if the last meeting is any indicator – we can expect hundreds of horse people to show up.

If a race plan is presented to the Maryland Racing Commission that is deemed unacceptable by the racing community, the Maryland Horse Council (the umbrella organization for all horse organizations and all horse people in Maryland), is urging the Commission to pass a resolution  calling on the Governor to intervene by exercising the 2009 Save Maryland Racing Law. According to MHC president Steuart Pittman, “That law, Title 11-521 of the Business Regulation, allows the state to force a change in ownership, and it was passed to prevent the crisis that we now face.”

To read the 2009 Save Maryland Racing Law, click here.

To read the MHC letter to the Governor, click here.

Your Thoughts

What do you think? Should the government exercise eminent domain and seize the tracks? Or should it stay out of interfering in the ownership of a private business, and let the business of the racetracks run on its own life cycle, whatever that may be?  Email editor@equiery.com.

Two Slots Parlors in Anne Arundel County?

Meanwhile, minority MJC owner, Penn National, is making noise about trying to amend the Maryland State Constitution, which currently allows only one slots parlor in Anne Arundel County. Penn would like Maryland to now allow two slots parlors in Anne Arundel. Well, guess if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. But would the legislators really go for two slots parlors in Anne Arundel County? And would there really be enough business to support two parlors? And wouldn’t Cordish (who won the slots license for his Arundel Mills site) fight them tooth and nail?

For more details, see the Dec. 10 Baltimore Sun.

“Insanity reigns,” says Daily Record

The Baltimore Sun’s Jay Hancock argues for eminent domain.

Lou Raffeto: “A Fate Worse Than Death”

Meanwhile, NJ Governor vetoes industry’s request for a full racing calendar!