Maryland Racing Commission OKs continuing education program, other regulations

Posted: Dec. 6, 2020

The Maryland Racing Commission Dec. 2 approved final regulations authorizing a continuing education requirement for trainers, a ban on race-day Lasix in graded stakes, and expanded restrictions on shock wave therapy. All three began moving through the regulatory process months ago.

Continuing education programs are part of the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities. According to the Maryland rule, trainers and assistant trainers, when licensed Jan. 1, 2022, must provide affirmation that they participated in four hours of continuing education in calendar year 2021. Two hours must be devoted to equine health and welfare.

The CE requirement will continue from year to year. The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association has begun discussions on educational programs, either in person or online, that will satisfy the CE requirement. New York already has a CE requirement, and other Mid-Atlantic states are in the process of considering implementation of the program.

Earlier this year, the MRC approved a revised Lasix regulation that bans use of the therapeutic medication within 48 hours of a race for 2-year-olds only. In 2021, the prohibition will extend to all graded stakes run at Maryland racetracks. Non-graded stakes are not part of the prohibition.

Regarding shock wave therapy, a horse is not permitted to race within 10 days of receiving such a treatment. The new regulation extends the 10-day stand-down to training and workouts.

In other business, the MRC signed off on a recommendation by the Maryland-Bred Race Advisory Committee to maintain the current percentages for breeder and stallion purse bonuses through June 2021 with a caveat that they may need to be altered should COVID-19 restrictions impact racing’s revenue stream. Currently, the breeder bonus is 25% and the stallion bonus 8.33%. The numbers were reduced from 30% and 10%, respectively, given the early-2020 shutdown of live racing and casinos gambling in Maryland for roughly three months.