Maryland Jockey Club

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Maryland Industry Told to Get Act Together

Exasperated by the state racing industry's continued bickering and failure to work together, the Maryland Racing Commission Oct. 29 ordered Thoroughbred and Standardbred factions to resolve conflicts in two weeks or face punitive action that could lead to the denial of racing dates.

Maryland Moves to Cut Costs by Closing Barns

A decision by the Maryland Jockey Club to close the barn area at Pimlico Race Course at the end of October and force trainers to move prompted an immediate outcry from horsemen. Lou Raffetto Jr., chief operating officer of the MJC, said the decision was a cost-cutting measure. He said the barns at Pimlico would reopen about March 1, 2002.

Racing Industry Reacts to 'Unprecedented Tragedy'

Thoroughbred racing and simulcasting at major locations in the United States shut down Tuesday due to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Many also planned to close Wednesday. The commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said it could take a while "to sort out the implications for the country, as well as our business."

Virginia Plan Irks Maryland Commissioner

At the Aug. 30 Maryland Racing Commission meeting at Ocean Downs, commissioner Terry Saxon erupted in anger over a letter from Colonial Downs president Ian Stewart in regard to the Virginia track's plan to apply for another summer meet next year.

Maryland Industry Told to Get Act Together

Horse racing in Maryland is in dire straits and desperate need of help in the form of slot machines, a new racetrack, or millions of dollars in state assistance, industry leaders said Aug. 21 during a Senate Special Committee on Gaming hearing in Annapolis, Md. In turn, legislators told them the ball is in the industry's court.

Colonial Downs: More Summer Racing Planned for 2002

Fresh off a successful 2001 summer meet at Colonial Downs, members of the Virginia Racing Task Force are looking forward to the 2002 Thoroughbred meet. They told the Virginia Racing Commission Wednesday they hope to race again in the summer.

Mango Resigns Maryland Position

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The Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday that James P. Mango will be resigning his position as Executive Vice President effective September 30, 2001.

Dave's Friend Cancelled

The Maryland Jockey Club cancelled Saturday's $75,000 Dave's Friend because 12 trainers who nominated their horses declined to enter and race against Pimlico-based Disco Rico, one of the top sprinters in the country.

MJC Seeks Cause of Cracking Glass at Laurel

Large panels of glass in the grandstand overlooking the track at Laurel Park have been cracking at an alarming rate. The situation, which already has forced the transfer of some racing dates to Pimlico Race Course, has prompted the Maryland Jockey Club to hire a team of experts to find the cause and propose a solution.

Lack of Unanimity Costly to Maryland Racing Industry

The public got its first glance Wednesday, June 27, at what in-fighting has cost the Maryland racing industry. The Maryland Jockey Club slashed 22 stakes races worth $1.7 million from its racing program the rest of the year at Pimlico and Laurel Park. The Maryland Racing Commission approved the drastic cuts at its monthly meeting in Timonium north of Baltimore.

Virginia Dates OK'd; Three-State Circuit Proposed

The Virginia Racing Commission on Monday approved a revised live racing schedule for Colonial Downs that dovetails with dates in neighboring Maryland. For next year, one racing official has floated a plan to create a three-state circuit -- Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware -- designed to capitalize on each state's assets.

Maryland, Virginia Agree on Summer Schedule

Under the plan approved Wednesday by the Maryland Racing Commission, Thoroughbreds will cease racing in the state from July 8 to Aug. 7. During that period, Colonial Downs, the track in Virginia managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, will run its 25-day meet.

New Maryland Track Granted Preliminary Approval

After the Maryland Jockey Club agreed to drop its opposition, the Maryland Racing Commission granted preliminary approval March 30 to William Rickman Jr.'s bid to build a horse track in Western Maryland. Representatives of the MJC stopped fighting the proposal after Rickman, owner of Delaware Park and Ocean Downs, secured a $20 million line of credit for Allegany Racing Association. That is the entity composed of Rickman and his father, William Rickman, that proposes to construct the track at the eastern edge of Allegany County.

Maryland Jockey Club Rejoins NTRA

With a Saturday deadline to land a seat on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors fast approaching, the Maryland Jockey Club has rejoined the NTRA, and its president, Joe De Francis, will take a seat on the NTRA board.

Proposed Maryland Track Hits Another Snag

The Maryland Racing Commission on Thursday abruptly cut off testimony concerning construction of a racetrack in the western part of the state so opposing sides could work on an agreement to expedite the tedious process. William Rickman Jr., who wants to build the track in remote Allegany County, offered to write a letter of credit to guarantee its financial viability and stability. Rickman, who owns and Delaware Park and Ocean Downs, a Maryland harness track, is the only applicant for the license to construct the track.

Maryland Racing Commission Rejects Plan For Colonial Downs

In a tense meeting that exposed deep divisions within Maryland's racing community, the state racing commission on Wednesday rejected a plan for ceasing Thoroughbred racing for five weeks this summer so that horses can compete in Virginia. The commission voted 6-2 against the proposal advanced by the Maryland Jockey Club and a task force representing segments of the racing industry in Maryland and Virginia. The plan called for Pimlico and Laurel Park to close for racing from June 10 to July 14 while Colonial Downs, the struggling track near Richmond, conducted a 25-day summer Thoroughbred meet.

Laurel Will Try 'Dash' in Post-Breeders' Cup Spot

For the first time since its inception in Maryland in 1990, the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash will be run this year in the fall instead of the summer. The $300,000 race, one of only two grade I six-furlong events in the country, will headline a "fall festival day" of a half-dozen stakes Nov. 17 at Laurel Park, said Lou Raffetto Jr., chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club.

Maryland Dates Meeting May Be 'Bloodbath'

On Wednesday, representatives of the Maryland Jockey Club will ask the state's racing commission for permission to cease racing at Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park for parts of June and July so that Thoroughbreds can race at Colonial Downs. The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association doesn't support the plan.

NTRA Gives Mid-Atlantic Until March 31 to Rejoin

The NTRA board of directors, during a teleconference meeting Thursday, ruled that a "sufficient number" of racetracks in the Mid-Atlantic region must rejoin the NTRA by March 31, or the region will lose its seat on the board. Elections for other racetrack seats will be held the week of Feb. 5, though tracks that aren't members by that date will not be eligible to vote.

Hale Leaves Maryland Jockey Club Post

Veteran racing executive Leonard (Lenny) Hale has left his post as vice president of racing for the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Racecourse. According to a statement from MJC, the organization reached an "amicable parting" as of last Saturday, Jan. 20.

Battle Brews Over Maryland, Virginia Dates

Colonial Downs has received approval to race in June and July this year, but the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association voted earlier in January to maintain the status quo: race in Maryland in June and July, and in Virginia in September. The head of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association says that position hasn't changed, but a board member contends the majority of Maryland horsemen wouldn't mind spending June and July in the Tidewater region.

Maryland Horsemen: Maintain Current Schedule

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has recommended that Maryland's racetracks maintain a schedule whereby there is a shutdown in September. That throws the decision on Colonial Downs dates back to the Virginia Racing Commisssion.

Maryland Jockey Club Bags Plans For Third Track

An alliance led by the Maryland Jockey Club has dropped plans for building a horse track in Western Maryland and instead plans on constructing two off-track-betting parlors in that remote region of the state. This shift in strategy would leave William Rickman Jr. as the lone applicant for building the track.

Raffetto Takes Key Role at Maryland Jockey Club

The Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday a reorganization of its executive board, including the hiring of Louis J. Raffetto, who will become the MJC's chief operating officer effective Jan. 1, 2001. The MJC also announced new titles and responsibilities for three current members of its board.

Remodeled Maryland OTB Parlor Finally Reopens

After an 8 1/2-month shutdown for remodeling, the much-maligned Poor Jimmy's off-track betting parlor in Maryland reopened Sept. 15 with a new name, a dramatically new look, and the prospect of serving as a model for other OTBs around the state.

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