Frank Stonarch has once again thrown Maryland thoroughbred racing into turmoil by proposing to run only a 40 day meet at Pimlico, where he agreed last year to run a 146 day meet for two years in order to divert $6 million in slot money which was supposed to go to purses towards operating expenses. Hopefully, by 2013 things would have stabalized in Maryland to create a thoroughbred calendar which could be supported on an on-going basis. Well, the deal has changed by Stonarch after one year and thoroughbrd racing in Maryland has been pushed to the brink once more.
Now, if for some reason Maryland thoroughbred racing crashed next year and raced only 40 days or another somehwhat short meet, wouldn't it be great if Rosecroft could pick up some of the slack? Yes, as of now they are scheduled for 54 days for next year, but if there are those few days of live racing in Maryland, wouldn't it be great if Rosecroft decided to ask for more days next year to fill the void of live racing in Maryland; possibly racing during the day to attract the thoroughbred crowd?
Unfortunately, based on the support of the Maryland horsemen, that doesn't seem to be a possibility. By the size of the fields thus far, it seems more horses could be used for their current race meet. Unfortunately, the next round of qualifiers were cancelled due to the lack of entries. Granted, the purses aren't great and the classes racing tend to be lower class horses, but the racing secretary can only write conditions for the horses available and ready to race. One look at the condition sheet shows some decent classes but they aren't being used because the horses aren't dropping in to race. Yes, 20 days of racing, two days a week doesn't make a full time calendar, but here is a chance to get in on the ground floor and rebuild Maryland harness racing. How many Maryland horsemen have decried the collapse of the Maryland standardbred industry? Now that Rosecroft is racing, albeit a limited meet, how many of these same horsemen are supporting the entry box?
Now, I realize unless slots arrive on the scene or at a minimum Rosecroft pays its own way, the Maryland renissance will be short lived. No one is asking you to take your best horses back to Maryland, but certainly many of you have low to mid-level horses you can send back to race. No the purses are not phenominal, but sometimes you have to invest in something to make it grow. No, there is no guarantee Stonarch doesn'r relent or the state doesn't fold; especially with the MRC made up of thoroughbred interests. Even if the thoroughbred industry implodes, there is no guarantee that Rosecroft will apply for additional dates, but one thing is for sure, a meet not supported by the horsemen is not going to encourage Rosecroft to go for an expanded schedule.
In many ways, what happens in Maryland is out of the hands of the standardbred horsemen, but there is a small piece which you have control of and what I am seeing so far is you are blowing it. So come back to Maryland, even part time and do you part. If there is going to be a second collapse of the Maryland standardbred industry, let the fault not be with the horsemen; but external politics.