Special Thanks

At this time of year, we take time to thank so many of our friends and colleagues that have made 2015 a special year. As horsemen in the Maryland-Delaware-Pennsylvania-Virginia region, we are especially thankful for the racing opportunities that we have. The Maryland preferences have served to strengthen the Maryland Standardbred Industry. The system of awarding bonuses is consistent with what other states have been doing for a long time. While we were somewhat “late to the dance,” being late is better than not arriving at all. CSOA has, on behalf of the membership, negotiated very important and favorable terms in the contracts with Ocean Downs and PGRV LLC.

Maryland breeders have reason to be happy in the increase of breeding activity in the State. More stallions are standing in Maryland and more mares are being bred. The Maryland Sire Stakes and Maryland Standardbred Race Fund programs are alive and well. The Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association (MSBA) has played an active role in focusing on the future of Maryland Standardbred breeding. Everyone who chooses to race in Maryland, today and tomorrow, will benefit from increased activity in this important industry.

As I write to you today, I am pleased to announce two important developments. Ocean Downs has submitted a request to the Maryland Racing Commission for 48 live racing dates in 2016. While the dates have not been agreed to, I believe that we can anticipate a schedule similar to 2015. CSOA and Ocean Downs have formed a strong partnership in which all parties benefit from a strong racing program. Equally good news is the fact that PGRV LLC has submitted its request to the Maryland Racing Commission for 54 live racing dates in 2016. The PGRV LLC agreement with CSOA provides for a schedule similar to the 2015 schedule with several important changes. Please note that for part of the year (the Spring 2016 meet), racing at Rosecroft will be on Tuesdays and Sundays. In May, the schedule will go to a Tuesday and Saturday mix in order to take advantage of the activity surrounding the Triple Crown races. In the Fall, the live racing will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  As in the case with Ocean Downs, CSOA has developed a strong positive working partnership with PGRV LLC.

As noted in this newsletter, CSOA Board elections are high on the association’s agenda. I wish to encourage anyone you has an interest in serving as a Board member to contact CSOA as soon as possible.

Finally, I hope that everyone will consider attending the CSOA Annual Meeting on February 24 and the CSOA and MSBA Annual Banquet on February 26. The banquet always proves to be a wonderful opportunity to renew and make new friendships. In the end, we are a family. A family with common interest and goals. A family who loves this industry and the great State of Maryland.

God bless everyone and on behalf of CSOA, administrative staff and Board of Directors, Happy Holidays!

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Tom Cooke
President, CSOA