Have an opinion on how to bolster Maryland’s Thoroughbred breeding industry? Now’s your chance to share your thoughts and make a real difference!
At the October meeting of the Maryland Racing Commission, chairman Bruce Quade announced the creation of a task force “to address issues in the breeding industry.” Those issues may be many in number, but their impact boils down to simple numbers: in 20 years, Maryland’s share of a shrinking national foal crop has fallen from over four percent to less than two percent. The number of Maryland-breds foaled annually has fallen from over 1,700 to fewer than 500.
That calamitous drop has real impacts: on the preservation of farmland and the environment, on employment and the economy, and of course on the kind and quality of racing at Maryland tracks. Chairman Quade’s task force has some heavy lifting in front of it, but its ultra-broad mandate gives it plenty of room to roam to roam. Commissioner David Hayden, a co-chair of the task force, told me after the last meeting that he and Maryland Horse Breeders Association president Tom Bowman, the other co-chair, were “looking forward to coming back to the Commission with some concepts that maybe are not out there right now.”
One way to get those ideas is to solicit input from people other than “the usual suspects.” Wisdom isn’t limited to those on association boards or official commissions, and the task force is wisely seeking to involve others with skin in the game.
Kudos to the task force for seeking outside input; now it’s your turn to make your voice heard. The task force statement and request follow:
BREEDING INDUSTRY TASK FOR STATEMENT AND REQUEST
The mission of the Maryland Racing Commission’s task force on the state’s Thoroughbred breeding industry is to explore new initiatives to strengthen and broaden Maryland’s racing program through the development of a stronger and more viable Maryland-bred program.
As commission chairman Bruce Quade stated, “We are trying to strengthen Maryland racing, rather than simply racing in Maryland –‘Racing in Maryland’ is just races run at a venue in Maryland. ‘Maryland Racing,’ on the other hand, is the jobs, the farms, the breeders, the horsemen – the great history and heritage of Thoroughbred racing in our state.”
There was a time when Maryland-breds were the backbone of Maryland racing. We must restore that tradition.
THE QUESTIONS ARE:
The Maryland Racing Commission is seeking ideas that would provide a short term solution for improving the value of Maryland-breds both on the race track and in the sales ring.
In the near future there will be significantly more funds available for purses and breeder incentives. Please provide a solution as to how you feel these funds should be used to promote Maryland racing, Maryland stallions and Maryland-breds going forward.
If you were given the opportunity to make one major change in the present Maryland-bred Program, what would you change? Why? How would your change strengthen MARYLAND breeding and racing?
Please e-mail or mail your responses by Friday, November 9, 2012, to: David Hayden, email@example.com or David Hayden, P.O. Box 68, Upperco, MD 21155.