Carle A. Jackson, a member of the Maryland Thoroughbred Racing Commission for 19 years, resigned yesterday, saying, "I've had it. Several things, including the medication issue, have gotten out of hand."
The 72-year-old Baltimore insurance executive said he "feels frustrated" by recent events in state racing and that the sport "is not getting the help it needs (from the state legislature).
Maryland racing is in very bad shape and nobody is doing anything about it," he said. "I can't live with this kind of situation."
Maryland's controlled medication program, which Jackson labels "a permissive medication" program, has come under increasing criticism in recent weeks. Charges also have been made that undetectable, illegal drugs are being administered.
Jackson was the only member of the five-man board, three years ago, to vote against the legalization of Butazolidin and Lasix for racing purposes. He had 13 months remaining on his latest five-year term in the $2,500-a-year post.
"There is no animosity toward anyone," Jackson said. "I just decided to stop wasting my time, attending the monthly board meetings and listening almost daily to comments from racing fans. What bothered me is that Maryland racing is in very bad shape. The breeders need help. Some of the race tracks need help. But they can't get any consideration from the legislature."
Annapolis did approve this year a $20,000-a-day increase in purses, effective July 1, by raising the takeout on the pari-mutuel handle from 16 to 25 percent on the triple and from 16 to 19 percent on the exactas and the daily double.
"I don't criticize the horsemen getting the help they needed," Jackson said. "But the money will come from the pockets of the betting public, not from the state. The 25 percent is not realistic, and neither is the 19 percent. I quess I have old-fashioned ideas. The argument everyone used was that other people had it and Maryland needed it in order to compete.
"Well, Maryland can't make comparisons with, say, New York in these matters. We don't have nearly as large an audience to draw from."
Jackson vigorously dissented in many actions taken by the commission in recent years. He repeatedly opposed increases in the cost of admissions and programs and the splitting of a trainer's entry for wagering purposes, in addition to the medication rule.
Jackson is the only Republican on the board. His resignation is to take effect May 31.