February 2015

The Horsemen’s
February 2015
To Aftercare
As Strong
As Ever
All one has to do is look at the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s support of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and its own on-going assistance
to local programs to know Maryland’s horsemen are
committed to their racehorses’ futures.
Most recently, the MTHA made its 2014 contribution
of $31,389 to the TAA. It marks the first full year of funding for the program in Maryland and represents an increase of $8,163 over its 2013 payment.
The horsemen’s commitment to the Thoroughbred’s
post-racing career made both MTHA board member
Chris Bricker, who oversees the program, and Maryland
racing secretary Georganne Hale, who is on the TAA
board of directors, proud.
“Our horsemen are the best in the country and I
think that accounts for the way they care about their
horses,” Hale said. “I think our horsemen make us one
of the top-notch states in the country in terms of taking
care of our horses.
“The MTHA’s donation to TAA is substantial, but they
do much more than that,” Hale said. “They support the
local aftercare programs throughout the year, beyond
their TAA commitment.”
The MTHA is one of 43 organizations serving 130plus facilities in 16 states and Canada. But in December
2013 it set up an arrangement with TAA that remains
unique. The MTHA made sure its money would help
its horses and its farms. The horsemen donate half the
money it raises for aftercare to TAA, with the understanding the Maryland donation goes only to support
horses that have run in Maryland and retirement farms
in Maryland.
The MTHA also determined to keep the other half of
its raised funds to support local farms that have not yet
completed the TAA’s accreditation process. A farm has
to have a 501(c) tax designation for three years before
it can apply.
Two farms thus far in Maryland are accredited: Thoroughbred Placement Resources in Upper Marlboro and
Continues Page 2
Vol. 25 • Number 2
Sunday Racing
Returns To
Laurel Park
After nearly a decade, Sunday
racing returned to Laurel Park on
Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1.
Sal Sinatra, the Maryland Jockey
Club’s new vice president and general manager, hopes the track being
open on Sunday will increase attendance and build the industry’s fan
“It’s an idea that’s supported by
most of the horsemen,” Sinatra said.
“It just struck me as funny that we
are running on holidays, when people are off and able to come, but not
on Sunday, when people are off and
able to come.
“Pretty much every [track] runs
on Sundays and I may like to explore continuing it in the fall.”
Sunday replaces Thursday on
February’s three-day weekly racing
calendar. In March, a four-day race
week will kick in with racing Thursday through Sunday at Laurel Park.
Sinatra said the track will have a
Sunday brunch, where free T-shirts
will be distributed. The track also
will give away free programs.
The MJC has beefed up its advertising, adding 40 radio spots to go
with three billboard ads promoting
the return of Sunday racing. Postcards have been placed in area hotels and businesses.
Sinatra said: “I’m hoping Sunday
racing will encourage families to
come out and expand our appeal.”
Horsemen hope so, too. Trainer
Jerry Robb wondered if people will
Continues Page 4
Board Actions
Continued from page 1
MidAtlantic Horse Rescue in Chesapeake City.
Hale said a third farm, Foxie G Foundation in
Libertytown, will be eligible to apply for accreditation very soon.
“I think it was very smart to set up our
program with TAA the way we did,” said
Bricker. “And I think caring for our horses is
the responsible thing to do. The aftercare program encourages owners and trainers to think
about retiring their horses while they are still
healthy enough to have an afterlife.”
Bricker said the MTHA also is encouraging local non-accredited aftercare farms to become accredited.
“It will give them more money to work with
and that will enable them to do more for more
horses,” Bricker said. “Our Thoroughbreds are
much easier to find homes for when they’ve already been trained for a second career.”
In 2013, the return to Maryland’s two sanctioned farms was from two to three times
greater than the MTHA’s donation to TAA.
In 2014, Hale said, the return is four times
Besides its involvement in the TAA program, the MTHA works with several other
groups, including the Retired Racehorse
Project, dedicated to increasing demand for
Thoroughbreds off the track, and the Totally
Thoroughbred Horse Show, which showcases
talented Thoroughbreds in other horse disciplines
Rec Report
Basketball League
Basketball is continuing at Meade High
School. If anyone is still interested in joining please call Dan at 410-802-5798.
Thanks to all of the following for their
donations: Jack Adamecz, Gene Gilhooly,
Phoebe Hayes, J.D. Brown, and to all who
wanted to remain anonymous.
Texas Hold’em Tournament
Jack Adamecz won the last Texas
Hold’em mock tournament at Bowie. The
next tournament will be held Monday, February 23 starting at 12 noon.
Bowling League
T he nex t bowling outing will be at
Columbia Lanes on February 16 (Monday)
starting at 11 a.m.
Spring Golf Tournament
A date has been secured for our first golf
outing for the year, which will be held at
Walden Country Club on Monday, April 27.
Please mark you calendars.
MTHA Board Meeting – January 8, 2015 – Director’s Room
Members present: Timothy L. Keefe (President), Linda S. Gaudet (Vice President), Michael
F. Horning (Treasurer), A. Ferris Allen, Chris­­tine E. Bricker, Dale Capuano, JoAnn Hayden,
Robert T. Manfuso, H. Graham Motion, Lawrence E. Murray, Charles J. Reed, Michael J.
Trombetta and Katharine M. Voss.
Members absent: Ellen M. Charles and R. Larry Johnson (Vice President).
Sunday Racing
The Board unanimously voted to support
Sunday racing during the Laurel Park winter
2015 meet and authorize a modification to
the MTHA Purchase of Days request for
February 2015 to accommodate Sunday
The Board voted unanimously to appoint
Katharine M. Voss as Secretary.
Backstretch Pension
The Board unanimously voted to appoint
the full Board of Directors of the Maryland
Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association as
Horsemen Mourn
The Passing of
Harold Snyder
Harold Snyder, the founder of International Sound Corporation, died Monday, Jan. 26 at
his home in Baltimore. He was 91.
International Sound Corporation provides
photo finish, timing, broadcast production
services, and simulcast systems for the racing
Snyder, a
life­long resident of Balti­
more, is survived by his
wife of 68
years, Marcia
Balachow Snyder; a brother,
Milton Hartman;
children; and
many grandchilddren.
International Sound provides services to all
three Triple Crown tracks – Churchill Downs,
Pimlico Race Course, and Belmont Park – plus
more than 75 others, including Gulfstream
Park, Oaklawn Park and Penn National Gaming Inc. properties.
Snyder’s son David will continue his role
as president of the company.
Text MJCRACING to 95577 to sign up.
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The Horsemen’s
Published by the
500 Redland Court – Suite 105,
Owings Mills, Maryland 21117;
(410) 902-6842; Fax: (410) 902-6841;
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.mdhorsemen.com
MJC Capital
The only thing fast at Laurel Park
and Pimlico Race Course in recent years
has been the horses, as Maryland’s racing community has seen improvements
of the racetrack lag behind.
But Maryland Jockey Club vice president and general manager Sal Sinatra
has put on some speed and has improvements on the fast track.
While land continues to be cleared
at Laurel for 300 new stalls, the first 150
of which are on course to be finished
by April, changes are coming in the
clubhouse and plans are progressing for
some housekeeping updates at Pimlico,
too. Bowie isn’t being forgotten either,
as soon as the new Laurel stalls open.
“We can’t close Bowie until the barns
[at Laurel] are finished,” Sinatra said.
“But as soon as we can move the horses
out, we can get in there and determine
what to do there. It’s pretty firm that it
will continue as a training center.”
At Laurel, 40 new flatscreens have
been installed outside of TIPS and Tycoons, desks have been turned to face
the racetrack and new chairs have been
Outside the Stone Bar, new tabletops
and high tables and chairs are on the
“We want more life in that area,”
Sinatra said. “We want that area to be a
happening place.”
The Wilwyn Theatre will be getting
new carpet soon. Bids are coming in
now for that area, as well as for new
carpet in the grandstand entrance.
Sinatra said he is also “just getting
ready to head over” to Pimlico, where
new televisions and speakers are to be
installed and work will begin on concession stands in the clubhouse.
“I think this is good progress in a
short period of time,” Sinatra said. “I’ve
only been here a few weeks.”
He said the complete plan for Pimlico that he and Stronach Group chief
operating officer Tim Ritvo had hoped
to complete within “a month or so” of
their arrival in early December, is still “a
little ways away.”
MTHA Backstretch Pension
Program, A Valuable Perk
For Maryland’s Horsemen
Retirement benefits for backstretch
workers are a reality in Maryland, thanks
to a program started by the MTHA in 1988.
The Backstretch Pension Fund is derived
from monies deducted annually from the
Purse Account. Participants do not make
individual contributions into the plan.
The Board of Directors of the MTHA
annually allocates funds from the Thoroughbred Purse Account to support this
program. The plan year 2014 contribution
is $400,000 which is allocated among all
participant’s accounts for that year.
Sign-ups for the Pension Program are
conducted each spring at Laurel Park, Pimlico and Bowie Training Center. At that
time, employees must register to receive
benefits based on the previous year.
For individual questions regarding your
pension account, please contact Brenda
Wright at CBIZ Benefits, (800) 624-0954
extension 2352.
Anyone employed in the care of horses
on the backstretch in Maryland, including
trainers, are eligible to participate in the
Employees must have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours during the specified
year in Maryland, and provide documentation to that effect (with a W-2 or 1099 form,
or tax return) at time of sign-up.
Benefits become available when the
employee reaches the age of 65, or at age
55 with 25 years of service.
2015 MTHA
Sign Up Schedule:
Pension Plan Registration for the year
ended 2014 will take place at the
following times and locations.
Bring your MRC Badge and W-2,
1099, or tax return for 2014.
For more information call the
MTHA office at (410) 902-6842.
March 30 through April 3
Bowie Training Center, Conference Room
across from Security Office,
10:30 a.m. to noon
April 13 through April 17
Pimlico MTHA Office,
10:30 a.m. to noon
April 20 through April 24
Bowie Training Center, Conference Room
across from Security Office,
10:30 a.m. to noon
April 27 through May 1
Laurel Track Kitchen,
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
May 4 through May 8
April 6 through April 10
Pimlico MTHA Office,
10:30 a.m. to noon
Laurel Track Kitchen,
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Failure to register will result in
the loss of your 2014 benefit.
Free English As A Second Language
Classes Resume March 2
The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in conjunction with the Maryland Horsemen’s
Assistance Fund will resume its popular offering of
English As A Second Language classes on March 2.
Two separate classes will be offered to backstretch workers free of change in the Laurel
Park track kitchen once a week. These classes
will be divided into beginner and advanced levels to accommodate all skill levels.
Taught by Esthermaria Esquina, currently
an adjunct faculty member at Baltimore
City Community College and Montgom-
ery College in Silver Spring, the courses will each be
three hours on Mondays and Tuesdays, from 4 p.m. to
7:15 p.m., and will include a 15-minute dinner break.
Registration is open to all horsemen on a first come,
first serve basis. Though classes are free, students must
pay a $20 deposit at signup. The deposit will be refunded upon successful completion of the course.
To register, prospective students must
contact Diana Pinones in the MTHA’s Laurel
Park office at 410-902-6844 and fill out a
registration form. The registration deadline is March 1.
500 Redland Court, #105
Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
February 2015
Board of Directors
Timothy L. Keefe, President
Linda S. Gaudet, Vice President
R. Larry Johnson, Vice President
Michael F. Horning, Treasurer
Katharine M. Voss, Secretary
A. Ferris Allen, III
Christine E. Bricker
Dale Capuano
Ellen M. Charles
JoAnn Hayden
Robert T. Manfuso
H. Graham Motion
Lawrence E. Murray
Charles J. Reed
Michael J. Trombetta
Continued from page 1
change their routines for the track’s new
schedule. “I don’t know,” he said. “But if it
helps, I’m for it.”
So is long-time horseman Bill Boniface,
who didn’t like Sunday racing 30 years ago,
because Sunday was the only day trainers
had to walk their horses and be with family.
But times change, he said, “I think at this
time [Sunday] is a better day for being part
of the simulcast picture. I think Sunday is a
good day to watch the horses run at Laurel,
whether it’s at the track or in your home [on
TV or a computer].”
And trainer Katy Voss has been pushing for Sunday racing since it ceased in the
mid-2000s. She wants to see people in the
clubhouse and grandstands.
“I’ve been begging for it,” Voss said.
“When it was taken away, they said it was
because the Wednesday handle made up for
it. Do you know what the difference was?
Eight hundred dollars. That’s all. And for
that, they were turning away all the people
we had on Sunday.
“We need to get more people to the
racetrack. Let’s cross fingers and hope this
Maryland Racing Commission chairman
Bruce Quade said he “applauds” management’s willingness to try different things.
“It’s a fresh look and I support that,” he said.
“You’ve got to nurture fans, get them to the
tracks. There’s nothing like being there.”