Alan Foreman Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast

Alan Foreman | MJC

These are busy times for Alan Foreman, who is the general counsel to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, a member of Maryland's Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority (MTROA) and serves as an ombudsman for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) and the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU). He took time out of his schedule to join the TDN Writers' Room Podcast, sponsored by The Green Group.

It is his work with the MTROA that has received the most attention of late as the Authority recently issued a plan that would completely overhaul Maryland racing. Pimlico will be rebuilt and when that is done, racing will cease at Laurel. The Stronach Group will turn the tracks over to the state, which will become the new operator, but will maintain the rights to the GI Preakness S. and the GII Black-Eyed Susan S. A new training center will be built.

This is the evolution of a 2020 plan which called for the rebuilding of both Laurel and Pimlico. A total of $375 million was put together for that project, which eventually stalled because of a number of factors. Those same funds will be used to for a new Pimlico.

“Pimlico became the hub property for this project, and working with the Maryland Stadium Authority and other experts that we worked with over the past six months, we have a plan to go forward and it is within range of the cost of the bonds that were initially authorized by the Maryland General Assembly,” Foreman said. “So that's the genesis of this project going forward. It's a mountain of work that's been done in the last six months. But now the rubber hits the road.”

It is still not clear what the agreement means, which allows The Stronach Group to retain the rights to the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan. Major questions remain, like, how will the revenue from those two days of racing be divided up?

“There's a framework for an agreement that is now being negotiated between the state and Stronach,” Foreman said. “It's estimated that agreement will be finalized within the next 30 to 60 days. It's critical that the agreement be finalized because we have started the legislative session. Legislative leadership and the governor are going to be very interested in the outcome of those negotiations. But I think both sides are confident that they will come to a final written agreement because the ink is not dry on this deal and there are still matters to be negotiated. But the framework is that because Stronach owned the rights to the Preakness, they will license the event to the state of Maryland and the state of Maryland will, as a not-for-profit, run the Preakness. The division of revenues is being negotiated. It will be a fair agreement to both sides.”

As far as his work with HISA/HIWU goes, Foreman admits that there have been problems, particularly when it comes to trainers receiving hefty fines and suspensions for infractions that may be the result of environmental contamination. He says work is being done to make a fair system.

“I've never seen an intentional administration of a cocaine or a methamphetamine to a horse, and there wouldn't be a reason to do it,” he said. “The industry pre-HISA did a very good job of handling these cases. This was something that was not broken and needed to be fixed. And somehow in the new system it got broken. Fortunately, it's being fixed under new rule changes that we're waiting for the Federal Trade Commission to approve that will give HIWU the discretion to determine that it is more likely than not that the positive was a case of contamination or inadvertent exposure, as we like to call it, and not an intentional administration. The penalties have been substantially reduced per this rule change that's coming.”

This week's look at a Coolmore sire focused on champion 2-year-old Corniche (Quality Road). He was undefeated as a juvenile with wins the GI American Pharoah S. and the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He was purchased for $1.5 million at the 2021 Ocala April Sale by a team that included TDN Writers' Room regular Zoe Cadman, who recalled how she was blown away the first time she saw the horse. Standing for $25,000, Corniche's first foals are arriving this week.

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by WinStar Farm, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association,1/ST Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and XBTV.com, the team of Randy Moss, Cadman and Bill Finley looked back at the impressive maiden win at Gulfstream by 'TDN Rising Star' Conquest Warrior (City of Light) who overcame a ton of trouble to post the victory. A $1 million Keeneland September purchase, he's one to keep an eye on as the road to the GI Kentucky Derby progresses.

The team was united in its praise of Churchill Downs for raising the purse of the Derby from $3 million to $5 million, while also calling on the two other Triple Crown tracks to match Churchill's move. Cadman also brought up the point that the GI Kentucky Oaks goes for $1.25 million and is deserving of a substantial purse hike.

To watch the Writers' Room podcast video, click here. To listen to an audio version, click here.

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