Maryland Purse Supplements Fail to Clear Committee

Maryland racing officials have confirmed that a $10-million purse subsidy the industry has received in each of the last four years has been rejected by the state Assembly. Purses at Thoroughbred tracks could drop by 15%, according to published reports.

"The purse supplement failed," Alan Foreman, chief executive officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said Tuesday. "It wasn't renewed for this year."

The Baltimore Sun reported in Tuesday's edition that the subsidy failed to clear a committee late Monday in light of opposition from Speaker of the House Casper Taylor Jr. and Gov. Parris Glendening. Last year, the racing and breeding industries in the state almost didn't get the subsidy because of a political tie-up.

The purse supplement last year was tied to improvements at the state's racetracks, some of which are in need of repair.

The impact a $10-million cut would have purses remains to be seen. Reports said purses at the state's three Thoroughbred tracks -- Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, and the Maryland State Fair at Timonium -- could drop by 15%, and perhaps by as much as 30% at Rosecroft Raceway and Ocean Downs, two Standardbred tracks.