October 14, 2013
When I was chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, I predicted that all sorts of interests would in the future try and nibble away at any monies directed to try and equalize the position of Maryland's horse racing and breeding industries vis-à-vis surrounding states. So Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's pandering to more insistent political forces by suggesting that the state divert some of the money to pre-K hardly comes as a shock ("Gansler expands pre-K idea," Oct. 11). What fascinates me is that House Speaker Michael E. Busch, who during the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. did everything in his power to prevent the implementation of slots legislation and contemptuously dismissed those who raised concerns about the decline of those once great industries ("the average age of the typical horseplayer is dead")
April 4, 2013
That the Orioles could be turned around and have a winning season in 2012 and then open the 2013 season with a victory possibly is reason to hope that other Maryland sporting traditions can be revived. Three cross country horse races that constitute what is informally known as Maryland's Triple Crown of steeplechase racing get their start this weekend and next in Harford County with the decades old traditions surrounding the Elkridge-Harford Point to Point and the My Lady's Manor races, to be followed by the Hunt Cup a few miles to the west in Baltimore County.
January 8, 2013
Kudos to The Sun's sports staff and their recent coverage of the grand old Maryland tradition of horse racing ("Digest: Maryland horse wagering rose 7.5 percent in 2012," Jan. 6). Several important stakes races attracting national and international racing stars are being run at Laurel, and it is great that they are getting some coverage. The 15,000 Maryland race track employees, hay growers, vets, farriers and countless fans thank you for this much-needed support. April I. Smith
February 27, 2013
Maryland, and specifically the Baltimore region, has a long and storied history as a major player in horse racing. Thoroughbred owners, trainers and the horses live and work in our valleys, and every year the Preakness Stakes brings tens of thousands of people to Charm City. As told in the Jan. 27 article "Next steps for MD. racing," the profitability of the sport has been in major decline over the last several decades. If the horse-racing industry is to be saved, it must learn from other sports and venues in order to reinvent itself as a 21st century form of entertainment.
January 27, 2011
Gov. Martin O'Malley is developing a plan to share millions of dollars in slot machine revenue every year if Maryland's private horse racing tracks can convince state officials that they need the money to stay profitable. In legislative briefings this week, O'Malley's aides said the proposal would essentially standardize the emergency deal the governor struck at the end of the year, when the Maryland Jockey Club, which owns Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County and Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, said it did not have enough money to stage a full, 146-day racing calendar this year.
May 20, 2011
To Michael Matz, Barbaro's legacy includes a recurring image. It is of the horse with all four feet off the ground. It is as if Barbaro is flying. It has been five years since Barbaro shattered a hind leg at the Preakness, beginning a poignant struggle to save the life of the runaway 2006 Kentucky Derby winner. He eventually suffered from laminitis and was euthanized the following January. At Churchill Downs, where the horse's ashes are buried, there is a bronze statue of Barbaro suspended by a rail so the horse is off the ground — just the way Matz sees him in full sprint in his mind's eye. But the trainer and others believe Barbaro's legacy is more extensive — and more complicated — than the 1,500-pound statue celebrating his breathtaking speed.