Maryland ‘house rules’ will be topic at stakeholder meeting

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Nov. 21, 2019

The Maryland Racing Commission will continue to move forward with equine health and safety measures but has suspended action on various “house rules” pending a meeting with horsemen, veterinarians and other stakeholders.

MRC Chairman Mike Algeo made the announcement at the commission’s Nov. 21 meeting at Laurel Park. He noted that “significant discussion” on the house rules as well as proposed state regulations by the MRC Safety Committee and subsequently the racing commission at its October meeting.

In addition, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors discussed the rules at its November meeting, which was attended by about 30 horsemen who offered comments and had questions about implementation of the house rules.

Maryland approves multiple rules for equine health and safety

“It’s obviously paramount in this environment that the primary concern has to be the safety and well-being of horses,” Algeo said. “We are trying to advance the industry but folks have some questions about the house rules. So we will suspend implementation and have a meeting with all stakeholders sometime in the next several weeks. We’ll try to find a date that’s convenient for everyone.”

The house rules deal primarily with workouts, veterinary oversight and records, and medication. The planned meeting will be similar to one held earlier this year in Maryland for horsemen, veterinarians and riders to update them on national initiatives and proposals tied to equine health and safety.

Proposed regulations that would restrict administration of all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to no less than 48 hours before a race and push the cut-off for intra-articular joint injections from seven days to 14 days were already pending action by the Association of Racing Commissioners International Model Rules Committee in early December and must go through a statutory process in Maryland.

The MRC will not hold a meeting in December. The next scheduled meeting is Jan. 23, 2020.