Posted: Dec. 3, 2016
A Thoroughbred owner and a retired county circuit judge have been appointed to the Maryland Racing Commission while two longtime members, including the current chairman, will leave the regulatory panel.
Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Konrad Wayson, a businessman and racehorse owner, and Mike Algeo, who served as an associate judge for Montgomery County Circuit Court, to replace chairman John McDaniel, a member of the MRC for roughly three decades, and Mary Lou Preis, a former state legislature who joined the racing commission eight years ago.
Hogan, only the second Republican governor in Maryland in almost 50 years, took office in January 2015. Hogan made four MRC appointments or reappointments in February 2015: David Hayden, Dr. Thomas Bowman, Thomas Winebrener, and then-chairman Bruce Quade, who stepped down this fall.
MRC executive director Mike Hopkins said the appointments are effective immediately. The next commission meeting is scheduled for Dec. 20.
Algeo, a newcomer to horse racing who will take over as chairman, noted the positive trends in the Maryland racing and breeding industry. On Dec. 2 said he’s “very excited” to get the opportunity to lead the MRC.
“I’m really honored to get this appointment from the governor,” Algeo said. “The positive impact of the Maryland horse industry is fantastic, and that’s the direction we need to continue to move in. The horse industry in Maryland is significantly better off in 2016 than it was in 2010, and we hope that continues.
“I think one reason the governor wanted me as chairman is that I don’t have a horse in the race, so to speak. I don’t have a background (in the industry). The thought was to come in as a neutral observer. I have a lot to learn and it’s important for me to hit the ground running.”
Wayson brings a business background to the MRC. He is a managing partner of Wayson Land Holdings, secretary/treasurer of Hopkins and Wayson, and serves as chairman of the board of Childs Landscaping and vice chairman of Severn Bancorp.
Wayson, active in Thoroughbred racing for more than a decade, owned the 2013 champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old male Joint Custody. The son of Outflanker won the Marylander Stakes and Maryland Juvenile Championship Stakes at Laurel Park in 2013 and the Stanton Stakes at Delaware Park in 2014.
The native of Anne Arundel County has attended commission meetings to comment on various issues.
“Maryland racing has made a lot of progress, and we hope to continue with that progress,” Wayson said.
Wayson, whose family purchased trainer King Leatherbury’s old farm years ago, said he became interested in racing at a young age. His father raced horses at Charles Town in West Virginia because they couldn’t compete in Maryland, and then years later when West Virginia authorized racetrack video lottery terminals, Maryland racing was at a disadvantage.
“But it’s coming back now, and I’d like to see that continue,” Wayson said.
McDaniel during his lengthy tenure on the MRC witnessed a revitalization of both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing under the late Frank De Francis; a sharp downturn in fortunes because of the advent of racetrack gaming in neighboring states; and a recent rebound thanks to revenue from casino video lottery terminals, a broad 10-year agreement among industry stakeholders, and a major capital improvement investment in Laurel Park by The Stronach Group.
Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association officials thanked McDaniel and Preis for their roles in facilitating the resurgence of Maryland racing over the past five years.
(Maryland State House photo courtesy of Maryland.gov)