The Maryland Senate has approved a bill to remove harness racing from the jurisdiction of the State Racing Commission and place it under the control of a separate regulatory agency.
If the bill is passed by the House of Delegates, it will culminate a 15-year effort by harness-racing advocates to put people expert in their form of racing on the commission that regulates it. There are no harness-racing reprsntatives on the current nive-member racing commission.
"They wanted to run their own business, which they have a right to do," said state Sen. Homer White Jr., (D-Eastern Shore), sponsor of the bill.
"They're an entirely different breed from flat racers, with a different attitude about living. It's a family affair they're everyday people, who do it because they love it. And they have shown a profit," White said.
There are three harness-racing tracks in Maryland: Ocean Downs, Laurel and Rosecroft. Each races for 0 days a year, but one of the harness-racers' biggest complaints has been that rules established by the racing commission have forced Laurel and Ocean Downs to compete with each other for 60 days.
The five flat-racing tracks in Maryland race for 306 days, White said, and do not compete whith each other. [TEXT OMITTED SOURCE] tr for add two [TEXT OMITTED SOURCE] add two-Harness.
"They (harness racers) got nothing from the racing commission all these years," said White. "They were not even a benevolent dictator. "Actions speak louder than words."