Maryland racetracks have laid off or are poised to lay off employees in the wake of a simulcast disagreement between the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries.
Although racing in Maryland faces an uncertain future, one thing is clear, according to Frank Stronach, head of the company that controls the Maryland Jockey Club: The Preakness will remain at Pimlico.
Rosecroft Raceway will not be permitted to offer simulcast wagering of Thoroughbred races effective April 19, according to a statement released Friday evening jointly by the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Assoc. and the Maryland Horse Breeders' Assoc.
Winners of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) media awards for coverage of last year's race includes Sean Clancy for his recap that appeared in Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred and photographer Jeff Snyder for a photo that ran in The Blood-Horse's Preakness results issue.
Pimlico Race Course opens Wednesday for its 10-week spring meet, which is headlined by the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of th Triple Crown, on May 15.
Despite financial woes, the Pimlico Special (gr. I) has been scheduled for May 14, the day before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), a Maryland Jockey Club executive told the Maryland Racing Commission Feb. 10.
Joe DeFrancis, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, and Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. did not violate campaign finance laws by arranging more than $200,000 in donations to a national organization headed by Miller, Maryland's state prosecutor said Monday.
Racing nine fewer days than a year ago because of inclement weather, the Maryland Jockey Club announced its total handle declined less than 3% in 2003.
Tough times and uncertainty mark the passing of one year and the beginning of another in Maryland racing. Joe De Francis, president and CEO of the Maryland Jockey Club, calls 2003 "the toughest year we've had in the last decade." And the battle for relief in the form of slot machines has taken more unexpected twists and turns.
The owners of Pimlico and Laurel Park averted a showdown with horsemen over the possible shutdown of simulcasting by agreeing Wednesday to keep the Pimlico stables open for the winter.
The first indication a deal might be worked out to keep Pimlico's stable open for the winter emerged Tuesday. Meetings took place between horsemen's leadership and track management in a Baltimore office and between horsemen's leadership and angry Pimlico backstretch workers in the Pimlico track kitchen.
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has agreed to limit the potential number of sites for slot machines, eliminating one obstacle to their legalization in the state but also possibly putting Pimlico Race Course in peril.
In the continuing dispute over the Maryland Jockey Club's closing of the Pimlico stables for the winter, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has voted to try to stop the MJC from simulcasting out-of-state races.
In an explosive meeting marked by a commissioner's expletive-filled response to charges of discrimination, the Maryland Racing Commission voted Oct. 14 to review the Maryland Jockey Club's documentation for evicting trainers and closing the Pimlico stable for the winter.
TV Games Network has filed a countersuit against Magna Entertainment Corp. in the brewing battle over the right to broadcast Maryland Jockey Club racing.
Stakes coordinator David Rollinson will be leaving the Maryland Jockey Club to concentrate on his bloodstock business specializing in acquiring and managing European Thoroughbreds for American racing.
The Maryland Jockey Club will honor King Leatherbury, who last month became the third trainer in history to win 6,000 races, with a "Toast And Roast" Saturday at Pimlico.
Total handle on the May 17 Preakness Stakes Day program at Pimlico Race Course topped $60 million for the third consecutive year, but it was down 9.5% from last year, according to figures released May 21 by the Maryland Jockey Club.
The Maryland Racing Commission voted unanimously Nov. 13 to approve Magna Entertainment Corp. as majority owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, turning the spotlight on Magna to begin fulfilling its promise for Maryland racing. The Preakness Stakes, second leg of the Triple Crown, is a big part of the equation.
In his first public comments about specific plans for Maryland racing, Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach said the company will tear down Pimlico Race Course and build a new track on the same site.
Racing in the region returns to Laurel Park Thursday and offers patrons free admission and programs to celebrate opening day.
Magna Entertainment has plans to transform Maryland's premier Thoroughbred racetracks into "destination entertainment centers," and apparently expand off-track wagering in the state. At this time, though, officials are reluctant to discuss details.
A Maryland Jockey Club attorney told Maryland legislators June 25 that no deal has been made to sell Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course to Magna Entertainment, and that any deal would have to clear major regulatory hurdles.
The Maryland Jockey Club has joined local, state, and federal law enforcement and other government agencies to develop and implement a thorough series of safety and security procedures May 17-18 for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Preakness Stakes, respectively.
The expected $4.5-million purse supplement for Maryland racing has apparently shrunk to $3 million, according to Mike Hopkins, acting executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission.
Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in Maryland probably will receive an infusion of about $4.5 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1 as the result of a recent flurry of activity in the General Assembly.
The Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association reached a four-year deal Feb. 27 that resolves conflict that has lingered for years over racing dates and stakes schedules. As part of the deal, though, the grade I Pimlico Special will be suspended for 2002.
The Maryland Jockey Club unveiled the logo for the 2002 Preakness Stakes on May 18. The logo features a horse and jockey, and the Black-Eyed Susan flower against the backdrop of Pimlico's historic cupola.
The Virginia Racing Commission may take a more active role in regulating horse racing if the recommendations of a blue-ribbon committee are implemented. The panel suggests a need for more off-track wagering facilities, elimination of a law that mandates 150 live racing dates by 2006, and addition of account wagering.
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.
The Television Games Network can legally handle account wagers in Maryland, according to the state racing commission.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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