MTHA encouraging dialogue on racing surface issues

Posted: Jan. 4, 2020

In keeping with a heightened focus on equine health and safety, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association recently launched biweekly meetings that allow horsemen to interact with Track Superintendent Chris Bosley on racing surface issues.

“Coffee With Chris” is held every other Friday at 9:30 a.m. in the MTHA offices in the Laurel Park recreation room. Bosley, who was hired by the Maryland Jockey Club in April 2018, is readily available when horsemen have questions or concerns, but the regular meetings are designed to create more dialogue.

For instance, during a meeting just before the Christmas holiday, blacksmiths were on hand and explained how they are able to get a handle on the track surface simply by working on horses’ feet. MJC officials such as Racing Secretary Chris Merz also attend the bi-weekly sessions, which usually run for 30 minutes or less.

The consensus of horsemen who have attended the meetings over the past month has been that the dirt surface is consistent, which is always Bosley’s goal. The meetings also are educational in that the science of surface maintenance and the challenges of maintaining the surface, particularly during winter weather, are discussed.

Best practices and regular communication among all parties regarding racing surfaces are part of the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities.

(Laurel Park photo by Tom LaMarra)