Lou Raffetto Jr., most recently president and chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, has been named chief executive officer of the National Steeplechase Association.
Magna Entertainment Corp. confirmed March 3 the resignation of Joseph De Francis from the company's board of directors.
Joe De Francis will shortly resign as a member of the Magna Entertainment Corp. board of directors, according to a published report.
At their monthly meeting Jan. 29, the Maryland Racing Commission accepted the Maryland Jockey Club's proposal to alter the live racing calendar for the final seven weeks of the current Laurel winter meeting.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced its total handle declined by 8% during 2007, with five fewer racing days. All sources of handle totaled $883.8 million as compared to $960.2 million from the same period in 2006. The daily average handle from all sources decreased 6.5 % from $4.1 million to $3.8 million.
- By Ryan Conley
Chris Dragone knows he is wading into some fiery situations as the new head of the Maryland Jockey Club, but said he is more than willing to take whatever heat necessary to right a rocky ship.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Nov. 28 that president and chief operating officer Lou Raffetto Jr. will be leaving effective immediately to pursue other opportunities, and that Chris Dragone, a former senior vice president and general manager at the MJC, will take over his duties.
The Maryland Racing Commission has approved the 2008 Laurel Park winter stakes schedule, which was trimmed by two stakes. The 15-week meet will feature 17 stakes worth a combined $1.75 million.
- By Tom LaMarra
With a special session of the Maryland legislature fast approaching, the Maryland racing and breeding industry is planning a major push for financial assistance in the form of slot machines.
Maryland Jockey Club officials have applied for a 60-day winter meet--15 fewer days than usual--at Laurel Park beginning Jan. 1, 2008.
- By Tom LaMarra
Magna Entertainment Corp. has exercised its option, pursuant to an agreement with certain companies controlled by Joe De Francis and his sister, Karin De Francis, to acquire the remaining interest in the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.
Republican members of the Maryland House of Delegates have proposed a state budget that would limit growth in spending and derive hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from slot machines to combat a $1.5-billion shortfall. There were no details on how the horse industry would benefit.
In a program billed "Ten Days at 10 Percent -- Racing's Best Bet," pari-mutuel takeout on Maryland's live races will be cut in half during Laurel Park's 10-day summer meet that runs from Aug. 10-23.
Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association have agreed to reduce purses and slash the stakes schedule for the balance of the 2007 racing campaign as the industry faces a $3 million shortfall in the purse account by the end of the calendar year.
- By Ryan Conley
Though the net result was slightly less than last year's effort, Pimlico Race Course still realized its fourth-highest wagering day ever May 19 for its card highlighted by the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The Maryland Jockey Club announced May 14 it will honor the late 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, his jockey Edgar Prado, and his surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson at Pimlico Race Course during Preakness Week.
Dr. Dean Richardson and jockey Edgar Prado will be presented with the Special Award of Merit as part of this year's Preakness media awards during the annual Alibi Breakfast in the terrace dining room at Pimlico Race Course May 17, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday.
Maryland lawmakers again addressed the issue of racetrack slot machines in committee March 6, but passage of legislation is hardly assured.
- By Nick Hahn
A bill that would allow Instant Racing as a means of funding for transportation and purses in Virginia is on the also-eligible's list hoping to make the field. Members of the Virginia House Committee on General Laws tabled the bill by voice vote Feb. 15. The bill could be brought back up in committee prior to Feb. 20. Virginia's General Assembly session ends Feb 24.
- By Nick Hahn
After gaining approval 23-14 by the Virginia Senate, an Instant Racing bill returns to the Virginia House where a similar bill failed to get out of committee several weeks ago.
The grade I Pimlico Special will not be carded in 2007 due to a limited amount of purse money.
Helped by an increase in all-source handle during the fall Laurel Park meeting, wagering involving Maryland Jockey Club racing topped $960 million in 2006.
- By Ryan Conley
Patrons of Maryland Jockey Club simulcast signals will have a full-time opportunity to bet on races from South America starting Dec. 29, by virtue of an agreement announced Dec. 6 at the 33rd Racing & Gaming Symposium in Tucson, Ariz.
Maryland's Thoroughbred industry is likely to be downsized considerably beginning in 2008 unless racetracks are allowed more gambling options such as slot machines, a racetrack executive said Nov. 14.
The head of a new Maryland panel designed to better market horse racing said he expects the state legislature to reach consensus on slot-machine legislation next year.
The Maryland Jockey Club unveiled the 2007 Preakness logo Oct. 4. The 132nd running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, is set for May 19 at Pimlico Race Course.
After a nine-week break, live racing returns to Maryland on Wednesday for an eight-day mini-meet at Laurel Park with a nine-race card, including three on the turf course.
Magna Entertainment Corp. announced Thursday that Joseph A. DeFrancis has been appointed as a director of the company, effective immediately.
In its review of information at its regular monthly meeting concerning the injury to Barbaro, the Maryland Racing Commission has decided to review the stewards' tape of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) to determine whether they can shed further light on exactly what happened to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner.
While preparations are being made for the 2007 celebration commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Colonial Downs officials are looking forward to experiencing their own "new world" this summer when the Virginia racetrack opens for live racing June 16.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported Saturday night that a record crowd of 118,402 was on hand for the 131st Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in Baltimore.
Safety and security procedures in place since 2002 will once again be implemented for this year's 132 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 20, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Tuesday.
Safety and security procedures in place since 2002 will once again be implemented for this year's 132nd Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 20, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Tuesday.
The Maryland Jockey Club concluded its winter meet at Laurel Park on Sunday, posting total wagering figures that are nearly 24% higher than the same dates a year ago.
Live racing shifts to historic Pimlico Race Course April 20 for the spring meeting. The headline event of the eight-week stand is the 131st running of the $1-million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, set for May 20.
- By Tom LaMarra
Principals in the Maryland horse racing and breeding industry have struck a major agreement on issues that have stymied progress in the state and led lawmakers and regulators to often claim the industry is in disarray.
Pimlico Race Course will offer a 25-cent Pick Six wager at the spring meeting that opens April 20, the Maryland Jockey Club announced April 5. The wager will have a guaranteed net payout of $5,000, to be split equally among all tickets correctly selecting the winners of the six designated races.
Maryland Jockey Club officials were thinking green Friday when the Laurel Park racing office took entries for next Wednesday's card that included the first turf race of the year. This is the first time the Laurel winter meet has run races on the grass.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture lifted the hold orders on the detention barn at Pimlico Race Course and an isolated barn at the Bowie Training Center March 8 after the final four horses in those barns tested negative for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). The four are free to be moved back to their original barns to resume normal activities.
The Maryland Jockey Club has unveiled the 2006 Pimlico spring stakes schedule after reaching agreements with both the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association.
The 2006 runnings of the Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and the General George Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), the marquee races of the Laurel Park winter meeting, have been canceled because of the equine herpesvirus outbreak, officials of the Maryland Jockey Club announced Feb. 20.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture has lifted the hold order on Barn A at Pimlico Race Course after 21 of the 25 horses in the barn tested negative for equine herpesvirus.
Joseph A. De Francis announced Feb. 9 that he is stepping aside as president of the Maryland Jockey Club but will continue as the organization's chief executive officer. Louis J. Raffetto, the MJC's chief operating officer, takes over as president while Chris Dragone becomes senior vice president and general manager.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture lifted the "General Animal Hold Order" at Pimlico Race Course on Barn 6 after 33 of its 35 horses tested negative for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) on both Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and virus isolation tests.
For the third consecutive Sunday, there will be no live racing at Laurel Park Feb. 12. The Maryland Jockey Club canceled the card due to a shortage of available horses because of the equine herpes outbreak in the state.
The Maryland Jockey Club lifted its self-imposed quarantine on Pimlico Race Course Feb.8, allowing horses from the Baltimore track to compete at Laurel Park for the first time since Jan. 21. Twelve Pimlico-based horses ran on Wednesday's card (after two were morning scratches). Five of the nine races featured Pimlico horses.
- By Sandra McKee
Maryland horsemen, in anticipation of the equine herpesvirus quarantine at Pimlico Race Course being lifted, entered 14 horses for the Feb. 8 card at Laurel Park. But some uneasiness remains given the volatile nature of the virus.
In anticipation of the quarantine at Pimlico Race Course being lifted next week, 11 trainers entered 14 horses Friday for the Feb. 8 card at Laurel Park.
Hey Ralphy, a filly trained by Rodney Jenkins at Laurel Park, was infected by equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), according to the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The 3-year-old was euthanized Jan 26 with a suspected pelvic injury. A Hold Order has been placed on Barn 9, where the filly was stabled, at the central Maryland track. Jenkins has elected not to train any of his horses until the Hold Order ends.
Though the Maryland Jockey Club has stepped up its fight against the equine herpes virus 1 that has frightened horsemen throughout the state with a quarantine of the entire Pimlico Race Course stable area, some trainers continued to worry the move may have come too late.
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