In the wake of recent conflict over its structure, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association announced “major leadership changes” after a closed May 23 board of directors meeting held at Laurel Park.
The organization said Maryland THA executive secretary Wayne Wright would retire effective Sept. 15 after 37 years on the job, and that president Richard Hoffberger would resign at the same time. Hoffberger, the only president the Maryland THA has had, will continue to serve on the board of directors.
The Maryland THA said Hoffberger had a “long-held plan” to resign as president and will continue participating in negotiations with The Stronach Group, which owns the Maryland Jockey Club, to develop a long-term plan for racing in the state.
The board also expanded its finance and legislative committees and established an ad hoc committee to study bylaws.
On May 7 the Maryland THA said it would hold another vote on proposed changes to its bylaws after its general counsel found a “flaw” in a vote taken during a special election April 30.
A group of members has pushed to have the organization’s president and vice president elected by the full membership, not the board of directors. Members present at the April 30 meeting voted by secret ballot to change the bylaws.
The Maryland THA board of directors said the re-vote would be conducted by mailed ballot, and the votes “returned to an independent party to be counted.” However, Frank Vespe, who operates That’s Amore Stables in Maryland and regularly blogs on horsemen’s activities in the state, said May 24 opposition to the re-vote led the board of directors to hold off on the election.
Instead, the board in closed session made its own changes May 23.