After an eight-week break, live racing returns to Maryland on Friday at Pimlico Race Course with a nine-race card, including four on the turf course. First post is 1:10 p.m.
The nine-day summer meet features two state-bred turf stakes races: the Humphrey Finney (Aug. 13) and Mister Diz (Aug. 20). The meeting ends Aug. 26 when racing shifts to Timonium for the state fair stand.
While many of the top conditioners in the state moved their stables to central Virginia for the Colonial Downs meet, Dale Capuano decided to stay at Laurel Park and rest the majority of his 75 horses. He saddled only 64 starters since the Pimlico summer meet ended June 12.
"I can't wait until Friday," said Capuano, who has been Maryland's top trainer for seven of the last eight years. "We haven't run many horses, so they are fresh and ready to roll if we can get them in the right spots."
Capuano, who has won 11 consecutive training titles at Pimlico, will send out two morning line favorites on opening day. Private Slip is the 2-1 choice in the fifth, a starter allowance on the grass. Salary Cap, 9-5 in the sixth, has won two straight for the Capuano barn this summer since being claimed at Old Hilltop in late May.
Top riders Ryan Fogelsonger (injured back) and Steve Hamilton (vacation) will not ride often during the mini-meet. Both are expected to return on a full-time basis when the fall meeting begins at Laurel Park on Sept. 7.
Starting Friday, the Maryland signal will also be available on "Premier," the largest pay-per-view channel in Germany. Pimlico is the fourth United States track to have its races telecast to European customers, joining Thistledown, Calder, and Arlington Park. Wagering will be done through MagnaBet, the European arm of Magna Entertainment Corp.
Beginning this Saturday, the Maryland Jockey Club will serve as the North American wagering hub for live racing and wagering from Maronas National Race Track in Uruguay. Immediately after Pimlico's last race, the action will zoom 5,265 miles away to South America. Win, place, show, trifecta, and superfecta wagering will be offered. This feature is expected to continue for the remainder of the calendar year.