Gov. Wes Moore (D) announced appointments to the new Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority on Friday in keeping with legislation establishing the 13-member panel to develop a plan for ensuring the viability of horse racing in the state.
In making the appointments, Moore drew upon a known talent pool in the thoroughbred racing industry, as well as political advisers close to him.
“The horse racing industry is an important part of our state’s history and our present-day economy. We have a long, distinguished tradition of racing here in our state,” Moore said in a statement. “My administration is committed to working with all stakeholders to not only move us forward but to ensure a solid, successful, and sustainable future for Maryland racing.”
The governor named:
• Gregory A. Cross, a lawyer with Baltimore’s politically powerful firm of Venable LLP and an experienced hand in racing negotiations, as chair of the nine-person authority;
• Mary C. Tydings, of Easton, the governor’s campaign treasurer who recently retired from Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm; and
• Jeffrey L. Hargrave, founder and president of Mahogany, Inc., a commercial construction firm in Baltimore.
Cross, who negotiated the 2010 deal under the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) that ensured the Preakness Stakes could not be moved out of Maryland, has been actively involved this past year in conversations with the track owners and industry officials about an agreement for the future of racing in the state.
Moore announced his appointments of three nonvoting ex-officio members, a last-minute addition to the legislation:
• Nicole Earle as representative of the area around Pimlico Race Course;
• Joe Franco to represent the area around Laurel Park track; and
• Gavin B. Stokes to represent the environs of the Bowie Race Course Training Center.
Moore also announced the appointment of representatives who were nominated by industry organizations, in keeping with the legislation.
Selected by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association was Alan M. Foreman, general counsel to the organization and executive director of the national Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associations Inc.
Representing the Maryland Horse Breeders Association will be Thomas J. “Tom” Rooney, a former Republican congressman from Florida who is president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Rooney also has a hand in his family’s Shamrock Farm, a thoroughbred breeding operation in Woodbine, Howard County, that was founded by his grandfather, Art Rooney Sr.
Others on the authority are:
Craig A. Thompson, another Venable lawyer and Moore’s campaign chair, who will represent the Maryland Stadium Authority, which he chairs; and George P. Mahoney Jr., a paving contractor and Baltimore County horse owner, who was named Tuesday by the Maryland Racing Commission to be its nonvoting ex-officio member.
On May 23, the General Assembly’s presiding officers — Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) — sent on to Moore the names of the nominees they jointly picked:
Louis J. Ulman, a lawyer and former chair of the Maryland Racing Commission; and Charles G. “Chuck” Tildon III, a former member of the Racing Commission and vice president of the University of Maryland Medical System Corp. who was campaign treasurer of former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
One member remained unknown Friday — the representative of the Maryland Economic Development Corp. (MEDCO). As provided in the legislation, that member will either be either J. Thomas Sadowski Jr., MEDCO’s executive director, or Scott E. Dorsey, the president of Merritt Properties LLC, who chairs the MEDCO board.
Questions to MEDCO as to whether a decision had been made were unanswered.