Deal protects Maryland racing in 2011

Dec. 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM
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BALTIMORE, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- An agreement was reached Wednesday that sets a 146-day thoroughbred racing season at two tracks in Maryland next year.

The lack of a deal with state racing officials, representatives of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course and horsemen threatened the continuation of live horse racing in Maryland, which is home to the Preakness States, the second race of the Triple Crown.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley intervened Wednesday and a deal was worked out among the Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association.

The horsemen's association will contribute $1.7 million to track operations and the state will shift $3 million to $4 million from Maryland's proceeds from slot machine operations toward track improvements as part of the agreement.

"This is a good day for the entire industry," said Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas. "I would like to personally thank Governor O'Malley and Chief Legislative Officer Joe Bryce for their support during this process. This discussion provides a foundation for continuing efforts to create a long-term solution to restoring Maryland racing to prominence."

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