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MD peeps - what will you do if we don't get slots?

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  • MD peeps - what will you do if we don't get slots?

    Some horsemen, and owners, have already given notice that if the special session beginning next week does not result in a gargantuan step forward towards slots, they are relocating to another state. I've already done a little checking on real estate in some nearby racing friendly states. Unfortunately, we just bought our house 19 months ago, and it really has not appreciated much in value, if any at all. We've also kicked around various game plans should slots get quashed. All of which suck because I really just want to stay here and raise my child near my family and friends. Has anyone else laid groundwork for a change if things get worse?
    Man plans. God laughs.

  • #2
    Flash... we have already done it... fortunatley we had an exit plan, and ran straight to our farm. I have been involved in Md racing for 25 yrs, as well as my husband... the pressure to run horses out of town, and owners complaining about purses, bad help, etc. finally made us stop and take a hard look around. Moving really wasnt an option, it was thought about, but in the end we switched gears. Raising babies (horses and humans) and pinhooking some youngsters seemed like a good plan at this point. I didnt want to be the last on the inevitable sinking ship. I do hope Maryland can turn things around, but it better be quick if there is any hope for surviving at this point.


    • #3
      I got an e-mail from Northview last week announcing their PA division. Good on them, it's a smart business move given the current climate. I fear for the day that all the quality MD stallions go to surrounding states and we wind up where WV was 10-15 years ago.
      Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


      • #4
        Thankfully hubby has a "real" job as in one with a guaranteed amount of money each month, so my plight isn't as bad as some. I am in no danger of starving, but I may have to part with some of my horses that are supposed to be forever horses. I remain forever the optimist that things will work out in the end. In a business where a 20% win rate puts you in the hall of fame, you get pretty good at finding the bright side. There have been countless times including now, where I am about a month away from being out of business, but God must want me to stick to it because something always come through at the last minute to save the day.
        So when Ray Ray wins the BC juvenile next year, this will all be behind me and we can look forward to the triple crown! How is that for optimism?!?
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          Love it Laurie, and best wishes!

          On another gloom and doom note... I read where Glade Valley may go up for sale... the Benders leaving Md for Pa... thats a biggy.


          • #6
            The talk of the track today was that there was an article in the Baltimore Sun today that said they were going to close Pimlico completely for six months after Preakness. I don't get the Sun and couldn't find it on their site, can anyone confirm or deny this? The "news" was spread by an extremely disreputable source, so I have my doubts but wouldn't necessarily blame Magna if they did shut the place down.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home


            • #7
              Here ya go Laurie...



              • #8
                I thought this might interest you guys if you haven't read it already-
                By Andy Beyer



                • #9
                  Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                  I read where Glade Valley may go up for sale... the Benders leaving Md for Pa... thats a biggy.
                  Glade Valley's been on the market for years, and Larry Murray acknowledged in a Mid-Atlantic TB article last year that it was being sold for development. I'm not sure the Benders are leaving for PA, though.
                  Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


                  • #10
                    From what I read about a month ago, maybe a little less, Larry was saying they were thinking about moving the entire operation to Pa... I am under the impression that the farm cannot be developed... I'll have to find the latest article.


                    • #11
                      From a Sept 16 article in the Sun...

                      Murray said Glade Valley is considering selling out entirely and moving up to Pennsylvania.

                      The farm isn't zoned for development, so unless the local government changed its designation, the owners couldn't cash in by replacing horses and pastures with townhouses or stores. Still, despite the infrastructure requirements for a horse farm, Murray said the move would be relatively easy.

                      "Our operation right now encompasses 1,000 acres, which we use very little of that for horses," Murray said. "We could probably get by with 150 acres, so if you were to sell 1,000 acres in Frederick County and buy 150 acres in Pennsylvania, it would work out very well."


                      • #12
                        Ah, see, I don't read the Sun. I didn't realize that the Benders were thinking about moving to PA--that sucks.

                        I guess the development issue is why Larry was so close-mouthed to the MATB last year--they must have been feeling out the zoning issues, trying to get it changed. I know that if it's in Ag Preserve, you can buy it back out, BUT you have to pay all the back taxes plus penalties. Not so big a deal if it's been in Ag Preserve for just a couple years, but if it's been several, it would be a hefty chunk of change. And seeing as new houses aren't exactly moving, no developer would go for that.

                        It's a lovely property, but the barns are quite old. I could see a sport-horse operation picking it up (maybe), but they'd have to do a bit of renovation.
                        Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


                        • #13
                          I think if the slot issue dies this year we will see alot of farms on the market... or really switching gears...

                          I havent been out to Glade Valley in years, but yes, it is a lovely farm!


                          • Original Poster

                            Crossing my fingers we won't have to have a relocation party...
                            Man plans. God laughs.


                            • #15
                              I got an email from the racing office stating that they are cancelling racing on November 2nd so that the horsemen can go to Annapolis for a 9am rally. Can we add this to the list of blunders that they come up with? How many true horsemen as in people who work with horses for their living whether in racing or breeding can be anywhere other than with their horses at 9am? Just like the rally with the governor at Northview. It was scheduled for 9:30am if I recall correctly and we were given notice the day before. I really wonder if they do this half assed on purpose so when hardly anyone turns out they can say apparently nobody gives a damn or they would have been here.
                              McDowell Racing Stables

                              Home Away From Home


                              • #16
                                I agree Laurie, last year there was no way we could make it to Annapolis... and we were stabled in Bowie... now thats really sad... They just keep shooting themselves in the foot... unbelievable.

                                I remember being told to drive the trailer down to the courthouse... not sure what that point was supposed to be about... I guess it was better than telling us to bring a few horses.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Hubby called to tell me that racing is cancelled on Friday, and then he added "we are entering for Friday night at Charles Town so now we can both go..." How ironic is that?
                                  Man plans. God laughs.


                                  • #18
                                    I recently moved down here to MD from a short stint in OH, before that MA. I'm not really worried about racing right now, considering my past two years of full time training went very well for me numberswise, but I've decided that racing is just NOT where I want to be. (way too much stress, 24/7 work, and NO support for a young woman coming into the industry- the good 'ol boys really discourage success on my part- the 24/7 work part isn't so bad, it's the people you have to deal with along the way, moving your way up from the bottom which is inundated with ignorant idiots) But, I can say that in MA they've been saying for years "without slots racing will be dead next year", and this is year after year... so as for racing in MD... might be the same thing.
                                    Race training and retraining Thoroughbreds.


                                    • #19
                                      I agree, I think MD racing won't die completely. I think they will do whatever they have to do to keep the simulcast open but if we don't get slots things I believe the landscape will change considerably. I don't see all three tracks open for training year round if at all. I don't see year round racing, I don't see a competitive stakes program, I don't see any backside improvements etc. Its kind of like the stake horse who is getting older and has to work his way down the ladder to stay competitive. You don't like seeing the old timers disgracing themselves for $5000 when they used to run for $500,000 but you gotta do what you gotta do.......
                                      McDowell Racing Stables

                                      Home Away From Home


                                      • #20
                                        Exactly. Boston actually recently got a purse increase, but also got some sort of "cards gaming" license, so they "hope" to see slots soon. But for the past few years each fall it was said "I wouldn't be surprised if racing doesn't open next year".

                                        They also have managed to retain racing for just the May-Nov season.
                                        Race training and retraining Thoroughbreds.