After a tenacious racing commission meeting this week, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley finally stepped in to help broker a deal for horse racing to continue next year at the state's two thoroghbred tracks.
The four-hour-long marathon session at the Maryland Racing Commission's monthly meeting Tuesday included a lot of finger pointing, MI Developments President Frank Stronach's stumbling excuses, personal attacks and ultimately no resolution. The commission once again shot down MID and co-owner Penn National's proposal for a 2011 racing schedule after the group proposed yet another anemic season of 77 racing days.
Throughout the month-long deadlock (which began when Penn and MID proposed a 47-day schedule in November), those in the industry were calling upon O'Malley to intervene and knock some sense into the track owners. It appears -- in the 11th hour of course -- he's answered that call.
The new settlement allows for 146 racing days and was approved by the commission Wednesday.
Here's the statement from Maryland Jockey President Tom Chuckas:
"This is a good day for the entire industry. I would like to personally thank Governor O’Malley and chief legislative officer Joe Bryce for their support during this process. This discussion provides a foundation for continuing efforts to create a long-term solution to restoring Maryland racing to prominence."