Due to construction delays at Laurel Park because of severe rain in central Maryland, the Oct. 9 Maryland Million program will be conducted at Pimlico Race Course for the eighth time in the 19-year history of the event.
This year's Maryland Million will include 12 races for $1.125 million in purses. Introduced in 1986, the Maryland Million, for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions only, has been imitated by 19 other Thoroughbred states. Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim McKay originally proposed the Maryland Million concept and remains chairman of the board.
"After consulting with the Maryland Million officials and the local horsemen, we felt this was the best move," Lou Raffetto, chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, said in a release. "The decision is a by-product of growth. We have lost 12 days in the reconstruction of Laurel's racing surface, and while we feel we are still on schedule for the main track to be completed by the latter part of September, we had concerns about getting the new turf down so it would knit properly to run three $100,000 grass races on Maryland Million Day."
The Pimlico meet, scheduled to end Oct. 3, has been extended through Oct. 11.
"We believe that this is the right decision under the circumstances, and are happy to run the event at Pimlico this year," Cricket Goodall, executive director of the Maryland Million and Maryland Horse Breeders Association, said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to running on the new courses at Laurel Park in 2005 for our 20th anniversary."
More than $50 million has been wagered on Maryland Million races over the years, including a Laurel record of $6.6 million a year ago. The attendance has surpassed 20,000 15 times, including six of seven at Pimlico.