The board of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association last night voted to install Richard Meyer as its new president and Dale Capuano as vice-president. Meyer replaces Richard Hoffberger, who had served as president from the organization’s inception in 1985. Capuano replaces Meyer himself, who previously had served as vice-president and who had earlier announced his intention to resign from that role effective September 15. The organization’s official statement is here. The meeting was closed to the organization’s membership.
Trainer Katy Voss was nominated to both positions. The board chose Meyer over Voss by a 9-5 vote, multiple sources said. The vice-presidential vote was 11-3. Meyer did not attend the meeting.
Meyer has been a member of the organization’s board since 1989 and is known for his work in the organization’s backstretch welfare programs. He had been vice-president since 2002. Capuano, a board member since 1995, is one of Maryland’s all-time winningest trainers. He serves on the organization’s purse committee and has been involved in ongoing negotiations with the racetracks over the sport’s future in Maryland.
The change takes place at a challenging moment for the organization. The track-horsemen negotiations over racing’s future have, according to several sources, reached a critical moment. The organization’s board reportedly discussed the most recent proposal from the tracks’ owner, the Maryland Jockey Club, last night. Sources indicated that, while the board reached no specific decision last night, it did make some progress; maintaining adequate stabling remains a challenging issue.
Beyond these negotiations, the horsemen’s organization must also work to repair what many have described as a fractured relationship with the state’s breeding community. The state’s horsemen and breeders have squabbled over numerous issues over the years, and one principal issue these days is the breeders’ desire for a more robust state-bred incentive program.
Finally, the MTHA’s new leadership will face a split board and a restive membership. A series of steps — and missteps — over the last several months have left many horsemen frustrated with the organization and concerned that it does not adequately represent them.
The immediate goal for the new leadership will be reach a long-term agreement with the racetracks. But those other challenges are critical, too, and soon enough, they will demand resolutions of their own.