The People Behind Preakness

by Katherine O. Rizzo With well over 100,000 people converging on

Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore for one im- portant race day in May and billions watching around the world, the Preakness Stakes is very much in the spotlight. T e pressure is high to put on a good show and the race goes off each year without a hitch only because of the people behind the Preakness. T ese men and women hold all kinds of jobs from general manager to track farrier to pony riders and each and ev- ery one of them makes the second jewel in the Triple Crown the people’s party, the race that horsemen and spectators alike often say is just plain done right. T is year we caught up with a few more of these people to chat about their roles at the Preakness stakes, memories and more. To read past inter- views, go to the archives page of

Tim Luzius

Assistant General Manager

Although Tim | 800-244-9580

Luzius has only re- cently been named Assistant General Manager for the Maryland Jockey Club, he has been a member of the MJC family for 30 years. Tim got his start at the race- track as a mutuel teller in 1988 when he and his brother answered an ad in the paper while looking for part-time work. “I started by just working some of the bigger races at Pimlico, Laurel and nights at Freestate, the harness track,” Tim explained. “When I was attending UMBC, the hours worked well with going to school and the pay allowed me to not have to take out a student loan.” Tim went on to earn his masters degree and an MBA from the University of Baltimore while continuing to work as a mutuel teller. By this point, Freestate had closed and Tim moved over to Rosecroft. “I started picking up more responsibilities like training the new people and counting pouches in the money room,” he stated. Eventually he moved on to being a full-time supervisor and then fl oor manager. In 2007, Tim was promoted to director of pari- mutuels. “I was also the simulcast director at some point,” he added.

In September of 2016, MJC Vice President and General Manager Sal Sinatra, along with Tim Ritvo, COO of Racing for the Stronach Group, asked Tim to take over as assistant gen- eral manager. When asked what his most memorable

Preakness was over the last 30 years, Tim could not just pick one. “T ere are so many to choose from!” he said. “Barbaro was an unfortunate scene but was handled well, Real Quiet was another great horse… even last year with Exag- gerator was incredible to watch.” And with this year’s Preakness Stakes just

around the corner, Tim advises Pimlico new- bies to head to the paddock on race day. “Go take a look at the horses before each race. See how the horses are feeling, watch them head to the track, exercise and get into the gate,” he recommends. “Get a real feel for the horses. It is such a great experience to be able to get that close and take it all in.”

Terry Overmier Stall Manager

Before Terry

“Go to the paddock and take a look at the hroses before each race. It is such a great experience to be able to get that close and take it all in.” - Tim Luzius, assistant general manager

Overmier took over for stall man- ager Charlie Hall when he retired a few years ago, Terry was a groom for various trainers for several years as well as a mutuel teller for MJC. She had been working with Charlie assigning stalls for the receiv- ing barn and offi cialy moved into the posi- tion about a year and a half ago. “I am the one who is in charge of as- signing the stalls for each barn, counting the number of horses on the grounds,” she stated. “I basically need to know where ev-

es running in the Preakness Stakes will stay in the stakes barn. “Some trainers don’t want to be in the stakes barn because they don’t like all the commotion of press and such.” Once the horses are all settled in, Terry also makes sure everything runs on time. “You can’t be late for the Preakness!” she said, laughing. “T e whole atmosphere of Pimlico is exciting during Preakness. I love them all. T e Preakness horses are just big and beautiful and not your av- erage race horse.”

Melanie Martin Lasix Clerk

Melanie Martin

has been working for the Maryland Racing Commission for four years as the Lasix Clerk. Before then, she worked in the test barn collecting samples for eight years.

Her hus-

“The whole atmosphere of Pimlico is exciting during Preakness. I love them all!” - Terry Over- mier, stall manager

band Dennis was a trainer and they also raced a few horses of their own. Mar- tin worked at GBMC for 25 years but took time off while being treated for breast cancer. “I just got tired of that sort of work and want- ed to do something I love,” she said. “I love being around the horses.” T e Lasix Clerk position is a fairly new job with Martin being the fi rst one. “Lasix is the only medication that horses are allowed to be

“The horsemen are very appreciative of what we all do for them. They often tell others that Maryland does it right!” - Mela- nie Martin, Lasix clerk

eryone is at all times and make sure the horse- men all follow the rules. T e job really has a lot of things involved with it.” Terry added that at times she even feels like “Dear Abby” as she often answers tons of questions and helps keep everyone getting along with each other. Terry manages the barns at both Laurel and

Pimlico but says things really start to heat up at Pimlico as soon as the Kentucky Derby is over. “I make sure the stalls are ready for each horse to arrive and meet them at the van,” she said. “Most of the Preakenss horses will arrive the week before the race but some of the more lo- cal horses will ship in at the last minute.” Terry explained that Preakness horses must be on the Pimlico grounds no later than 7 a.m. Preak- ness morning. “Most will want to be here early, though.” She also pointed out that not all hors-

given on race day,” she said explaining, “It helps prevent bleeding into the horses’ lungs.” Each day Martin looks through the overnights for the next race day to see which trainers have declared their horses will be using Lasix. She then goes to each trainer and asks how much the horse will be given and then records all this information for the track veterinarians. “Typi- cally 99% of the horses are using Lasix these days,” she said. “Between two and 10ccs are al- lowed but most will use about four or fi ve.” Martin went on to explain that most train- ers do tend to run their two-year-olds without Lasix to see how they do and will then switch onto it later. “A trainer can’t just give their horse Lasix, however,” she added, “T ey have to have the vet look at the horse, often doing a scope, and sign off that the horse needs it. And then if the horse goes off of it for any reason, another exam is required before starting back up on it.” During Preakness week, Martin also works in hospitality assisting Pheobe Hayes. “Preakness week is awesome! Everyone loves Pimlico and things get really ramped up for the Preakness,”

MAY 2017 | THE EQUIERY | 23 continued...

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

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