John McDaniel, a health care executive and horse farm owner, has been named chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
McDaniel, who has served on the board for five years, succeeds John H. "Jack" Mosner Jr., whose two-year tenure as chairman ended Wednesday.
Industry representatives praised McDaniel's appointment. "He is an outstanding choice," said Joe De Francis, operator of Laurel/Pimlico. "John's a horseman. He knows the game and the business. But he's got a tough act to follow because Jack Mosner was a great chairman."
Ted Snell, president of Rosecroft/Delmarva, echoed De Francis' sentiments. "I think he [McDaniel] is cut from the same mold as Mosner. He has an open mind. He'll work hard to make compromises that are necessary so that the thoroughbred and harness industries can find ways to be more successful. He has a love for both sports."
McDaniel, 50, is chief executive officer of the Medlantic Health Care Group located in Washington, and operates the 35-acre Hickory Ridge Farm in Highland.
McDaniel said last night that "obviously it's a challenging time for the industry. Now more than ever it's important for all factions to pull together and focus their energies on taking advantage of some real opportunities that are presenting themselves [increased technology, inter-track wagering, the possibility of a combined Maryland-Virginia circuit].
DTC "Jack [Mosner] provided the commission with strong leadership and I plan to work in the same direction."
McDaniel, who owns about a dozen horses including breeding stock, said he "breeds to race." Last year he chaired an owners advisory panel that studied ways to make racing more attractive to current and prospective owners and hopes some specific policies will come out of the committee's work.
The four-day week
De Francis and Lenny Hale, vice president of racing for Laurel/Pimlico, met with a group of Bowie-based horsemen yesterday to discuss the possibility of going to a four-day instead of a five-day race week during August and September.
The move would be "experimental," De Francis said, and would be done with the idea to "create fuller fields and maximize the betting handles on our live races."
But Jerry Robb, one of the trainers present, said horsemen are reluctant to cut back from their guarantee of 47 live races a week and said he thought that the move would undercut Hale's efforts to attract more stables to the state.
"It would create the impression that we are going backward, instead of expanding," Robb said.
Mike Luzzi, Maryland's leading stakes jockey, was kicked in the stomach by the 2-year-old Cache and Carry yesterday as
he was attempting to mount the horse in the paddock before the fifth race. Luzzi was taken to the Greater Laurel/Beltsville Hospital, but apparently did not suffer any severe injuries or broken bones, a hospital spokesman said. . . . Frank's Persuation, a starter in today's third race, is the result of a free mating that Louie Roussel III, owner of 1988 Preakness winner Risen Star, gave to the late Frank De Francis. A few days before the Preakness, Roussel was about to scratch his horse, when De Francis convinced him to stay and run. After the horse won both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, Roussel gave De Francis a service to the horse. De Francis didn't own a suitable mare, so he arranged a foal-sharing agreement with Barry Weisbord and R. D. Hubbard, owner of Hollywood Park, with the mare Golferette. The resulting foal, now 3 years old, is owned jointly by Weisbord and Joe De Francis.