Anne M. Eberhardt

MD Breeders Eligible for Bonuses at Pimlico

Maryland-bred maidens will be eligible for a loyalty bonus at Pimlico.

Breeders of registered Maryland-bred horses that win any maiden race at the Pimlico Race Course spring meet will receive a 14.5% “loyalty” bonus, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association announced March 8.

The bonus will come on top of the current 15.5% breeders’ bonus for maiden winners. The MHBA said the money is for breeders that have kept mares in Maryland despite the growth of purses and breeders’ incentives in neighboring states with racetrack gaming.

“Breeders make a substantial investment before a horse ever gets to the races,” Jim Steele, a longtime Maryland breeder and manager of Shamrock Farms in Maryland, said in a statement. “This is a well-deserved reward for those who have continued to breed horses in Maryland during the recent tough economic times.

“Now that the state’s slots program is beginning to generate revenue, incentives for Maryland-breds will, hopefully, continue to expand.”

Two of five planned slot machine casinos are open in the state. Purses and breeders’ awards receive 7% of gross revenue from slots.

Laurel Park for the first time in February increased purses because of revenue from slots.

The MHBA said that, when combined with owners’ awards, there is the potential to receive a 45.5% bonus. In addition, maiden special weight events offer a $5,000 bonus for Maryland-bred runners and $2,500 for Maryland Million-nominated horses.

Pimlico will open April 1 after Laurel ends its winter/spring meet March 26. According to the first Pimlico condition book, maiden special weight races will go for $30,000 on dirt and $28,000 on turf. Purses are comparable to those currently being paid at Laurel.