The Maryland Racing Commission on Nov. 27 granted the first new license to operate a racetrack in the state in more than 50 years. The commission gave the go-ahead to William Rickman Jr. and his father, William Rickman Sr., to build a small track in mountainous western Maryland. The last new licenses issued were in 1949 for the Rosecroft Raceway and Ocean Downs harness tracks.
At the risk of losing even more credibility with state lawmakers and despite a deadline imposed by the Maryland Racing Commission, the state's racing industry acknowledged Monday it has not made peace among the ranks. If anything, the disparate factions demonstrated that resolving their disputes is a longshot.
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The Television Games Network can legally handle account wagers in Maryland, according to the state racing commission.
- By Tom Keyser
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.
Exasperated by the state racing industry's continued bickering and failure to work together, the Maryland Racing Commission on Monday ordered the Thoroughbred and harness factions to resolve conflicts in two weeks or face punitive action that could lead to the denial of racing dates.
In an about-face, the Maryland Jockey Club will keep the Pimlico Race Course barn area open all winter. The MJC attributed the move to an "unanticipated increase in demand by trainers for stabling."
November will be a critical month for many Mid-Atlantic horsemen as they seek to secure racetrack stabling for the winter.
H. Graham Motion, one of the most respected trainers in Maryland, has denounced the manner in which the Maryland Jockey Club has reassigned stalls and said that he will remove his horses from Laurel Park.
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.
The Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Horse Breeders' Association, and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association will team up to support relief efforts at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
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."
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.
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.
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.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday that James P. Mango will be resigning his position as Executive Vice President effective September 30, 2001.
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.
Because of the lingering uncertainty over the condition of the grandstand at Laurel Park, the Maryland Million will likely take place this year at Pimlico.
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.
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.
Live racing dates for the remainder of the 2001 Thoroughbred racing season in Maryland were approved this afternoon at the monthly Maryland Racing Commission meeting in Timonium.
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.
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.
Laurel Park and Pimlico reported a combined profit of more than $670,000 last year, but the figure is way down from the $2.4-million profit recorded in 1999.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Virginia horsemen have two weeks to secure a loan that will allow Colonial Downs to pay an average of $200,000 in purses daily during a summer meet. The two-week deadline also applies to resolving a racing dates conflict between Virginia and Maryland.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Residents of Western Maryland jammed a ballroom Wednesday at their local Holiday Inn to speak their piece about a horse track proposed in rural Allegany County.
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.
With the blessing of Gov. Parris Glendening and the state General Assembly, the Maryland Jockey Club raised the pari-mutuel takeout on races at Laurel Park, effective July 1.
The Maryland Jockey Club has loaned $5.1 million to the owner of Rosecroft Raceway to buy Ocean Downs.
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