Kicking off with the Laurel Park Fall 2013 race meeting (Sept. 19-Dec. 31) a new Maryland-bred program will begin. It is designed to enhance the breeding and ownership of Maryland-bred horses. Modeled on successful regional incentive programs, it expands the opportunities for Maryland-bred horses.
Last May, the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC), after a nearly year-long study by an industry task force, approved the expanded incentives for Maryland owners and breeders. Similar comprehensive programs have had significant impacts on the equine industries in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York.
The new Maryland-bred incentive program is intended to resurrect the Maryland horse breeding industry, which has undergone a devastating decline in recent years. This innovative program provides the incentive to breed new horses through an immediate increase of breeder bonuses for Maryland-bred horses, and will also provide attractive financial incentives to own horses both now and in the future.
Starting in 2013 at Laurel, and continuing in the future, there will be a 30 percent breeder bonus payout for Maryland-bred horses who finish first, second or third in all races, and a 10% Stallion Bonus. The owner bonus awards will continue with the current program of 17.5% to the winner through 2013.
In 2014, not only will the new breeders' program continue to reward Maryland-breds that finish first, second or third, but Maryland-owned horses will also receive a bonus for finishing in the top three. The owner's award percentage will remain at 17.5% until 2015, for maiden, allowance and claiming races of $10,000 and up.
By 2015, the breeder and owner bonuses will be 30 percent for the top three finishers in all races.
According to Bruce Quade, Chairman of the MRC, “The goal of this program is to bring Maryland racing and breeding back to its pre-eminent position on the national stage, and to provide the incentives to breed, own, and race Maryland-bred horses. This program provides the economic basis and stability for horsemen in Maryland as well as attracting national investment in the Maryland racing and breeding industry.”
“This incentive program will result in more Maryland-bred runners to help fill our races, and it validates the faith that Annapolis legislators have placed in us to grow the business of racing and breeding horses in Maryland,” said Tom Chuckas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club which runs Laurel and Pimlico Race Course.
Maryland Horse Breeders Association past president Dr. Tom Bowman said, “Over the past 12 months, we have witnessed the evolution of two initiatives that will propel Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Maryland back into a position of national prominence. First came the 10-year racing agreement, and now, the horse breeding agreement. Both were made possible through the diligent efforts of Governor Martin O'Malley and his staff, the Maryland Racing Commission, and key members of both the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates. I am confident that their collective efforts will be rewarded by the revitalization of an industry so economically and environmentally important to all the citizens of Maryland.”
Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association president Richard J. Meyer said, “I am pleased that the horsemen and breeders have resolved their differences for the best interests of Maryland racing. This accord, together with the long-term agreement we jointly signed with the Maryland Jockey Club last fall, allows us to focus our collective energy on moving Maryland racing forward, while giving us the flexibility to meet the challenges of an evolving industry.”
“The Governor and the General Assembly, through their continued support for Maryland racing and breeding, have given us the tools to permit the Maryland-bred program to flourish to the benefit of all Marylanders,” added Quade. “Just think of the farmland that will be preserved by these measures. The combination of this breeding initiative together with the 10-year agreement between the horsemen and the track earlier this year provides the stability and the economic incentives for Maryland horse racing and breeding to thrive.”
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