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The Maryland Horse Breeders Association (MHBA) membership has selected four new members and one incumbent to the Board of Directors, as announced at the annual meeting held in the Vista Room at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Timonium on Wednesday, May 22.

The election is held annually, as dictated by MHBA bylaws, to fill five open seats on the Board. Rebecca B. Davis, David DiPietro, Edwin W. Merryman and Joseph P. (Josh) Pons Jr. join incumbent William S. Reightler to serve on the board for the next three years.

Davis, who manages and operates Dance Forth Farm in Chestertown (Kent County) and owns Becky Davis Agent Inc., had previously served on the board from 2006 to 2011. Daughter of longtime leading Maryland breeders Tom and Chris Bowman, Davis has bred, raised, and/or sold dozens of Maryland-bred stakes winners with her family, including Eclipse Award winner Good Night Shirt. She also counts six Maryland-bred champions, including Smart and Fancy, Not Abroad and Love of Money. Among Davis’s goals are to “work to continue the progress that has been made over the past few years. I am particularly interested in promoting Maryland-breds at auction and continuing the efforts to bring together breeders, owners and horsemen as one cohesive group.”

Former Maryland Million Ltd. president DiPietro (Owings Mills, Baltimore County) will serve his first term on the MHBA board. A member of the Maryland Racing Commission’s Breeding Industry Task Force, DiPietro looks to “Bring business experience and skills in addition to industry knowledge to address the greatest challenges facing Maryland breeders.” In partnership with other board members, he seeks to “generate innovative ideas for revitalizing horse breeding in Maryland and continue to improve the working elationship among all stakeholders in the Maryland Thoroughbred industry.” DiPietro was a co-founder of Maryland Stallion Station and has a diverse and extensive business background, including being a former senior executive of Deutsche Bank for more than a decade and former president of investment banking firm Signal Hill. His small band of broodmares has produced two Maryland Million winners (Juke Joint and Jack On the Rocks). Among runners he has campaigned is graded stakes winner Rare Gift (in partnership).

Merryman is a member of a family which has had a long history of service to the MHBA–both his grandfathers (Louis McLane Merryman and Edwin Warfield), his father, John Merryman, and sister, Katy Voss, have all been presidents of the association. Merryman was appointed by the MHBA board of directors to serve on the board in 2012.

A longtime trainer and breeder, Merryman operates Anchor and Hope Farm in Port Deposit (Cecil County) and trains at Fair Hill Training Center. His own multiple stakes-winning and course record-setting filly, Jazzy Idea, was named 2012 Maryland-bred champion 3-year-old filly.

First named to the board in 1985, Pons has served four terms prior to being reelected this year. A former MHBA president (1994 to 1996), Pons was also a board of directors appointee in 2012, and is a member of the Maryland Racing Commission Breeding Industry Task Force. Part-owner of Country Life Farm in Bel Air (Harford County) and Merryland Farm in Hydes in Baltimore County, and farm and racing partnership manager, Pons is determined to “Work with other industry groups to make Maryland the best state to breed and race, emphasize the agricultural appeal and importance to our state, maintain the spirit of the founders of the MHBA and locate the MHBA offices to an appropriate agricultural site.”

Reightler (White Hall, Harford County) returns for a second consecutive term. Founder and president of Bill Reightler Sales and Consulting Agency, Reightler is also an insurance agent and former trainer and farm manager, and has been active on numerous MHBA committees. He notes, “It has been my honor to serve on the board during the past term. The board members have worked tirelessly to advance the mission of the MHBA and I would be pleased to continue the work of the organization as a board member.”

Of the five directors whose terms expired in 2013, R. Thomas Bowman, Ann Merryman and E. Allen Murray were ineligible to stand for reelection because of having served a total of six terms as a member of the MHBA Board, while JoAnn Hayden was ineligible having served six consecutive years as a board member. Those whose terms have not expired are Donald H. Barr, Richard F. Blue Jr., John C. Davison, James T. Dresher Jr., Michael J. Harrison DVM, Milton P. Higgins III, R. Larry Johnson, Suzanne Moscarelli, Tom Mullikin and Robert B. (Willie) White.

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