Officials of the Maryland Jockey Club hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the opening of its new turf course at Laurel Park. Twenty-one horses galloped and worked over the lush greenery for the first time this morning.
Thirty-nine stakes races, with purses totaling almost $3.8 million, highlight the opening of the fall meet at Laurel Park. The meet kicks off Sept. 7 with live racing on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the month. Sunday racing will be added beginning the first week of October.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced June 8 that it has lifted the restrictions on horses planning to ship to Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park or the Bowie Training Center from Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Delaware Park.
The Maryland Jockey Club said the installation of sod for the Laurel Park turf course began May 31 under the supervision of turf superintendent Robbie Mitten.
Live racing on the Maryland circuit shifts to historic Pimlico Race Course April 20 for the spring meet. The headline event of the eight-week stand is the 130th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the VISA Triple Crown, on May 21.
For the second day in a row Sunday, a powerful winter storm in the eastern portion of the country forced cancellation of live racing at Aqueduct, Laurel Park and Turfway Park.
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.
Live racing will return to Maryland with the opening of Pimlico's Summer Meet on July 31 and continue through August 27.
Jim Gagliano, who joined Magna Entertainment Corp. more than two years ago, has been appointed executive vice president of Maryland racing operations for MEC, majority owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course under the Maryland Jockey Club banner.
Laurel Park closed out its winter meet on March 28 with a 2% gain in all-source handle. All-sources handle totaled $245 million for the 2004 winter meet, compared to $240 million in 2003.
Pimlico Race Course opens Wednesday for its 10-week spring meet, which is headlined by the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of th Triple Crown, on May 15.
The decision by Laurel Park jockeys not to ride yesterday [Jan. 10], forcing cancellation of the nine-race card, incensed track managers who denounced the move and said racing should have taken place.
Racing nine fewer days than a year ago because of inclement weather, the Maryland Jockey Club announced its total handle declined less than 3% in 2003.
In the continuing dispute over the Maryland Jockey Club's closing of the Pimlico stables for the winter, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has voted to try to stop the MJC from simulcasting out-of-state races.
Total handle at Pimlico Race Course was down by 14.6% at summer-fall meeting, which concluded Sunday.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday that it will close the Pimlico Race Course backstretch from Nov. 29 until Feb. 29, 2004 in order to complete backstretch refurbishing projects. Pimlico will reopen for training on March 1, 2004.
Laurel Park reported wagering increased 6% to total $71.8 million from all sources during the recently concluded 22-day summer meet at Laurel Park.
Magna Entertainment Corp. and the Maryland Racing Commission are working on a document that would satisfy Magna's agreement to spend $5 million on upgrades at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course by Aug. 31, said Mike Hopkins, executive director of the commission.
It appears that Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide will van down to Pimlico from New York on May 14, a day after the New York-bred puts in his final Preakness work. Owner Jack Knowlton informed Maryland Jockey Club officials of his horse's plans for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Wednesday afternoon.
Because of the snow in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas the Maryland Jockey Club has canceled live racing at Laurel Park Saturday and Sunday. Severe winter weather also forced Turfway Park to cancel its live racing Saturday, the third consecutive day the track has been closed.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Baltimore and Washington D.C. metropolitan areas for Saturday and Sunday, which coincides with Laurel Park's biggest stakes weekend of the winter meet.
A record-setting handle for the Preakness Stakes in May helped Pimlico and Laurel Park show improvement in 2002, according to the Maryland Jockey Club.
The Maryland Jockey Club will offer guaranteed minimum gross pools on its popular Pick 4 on Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Days, May 17-18.
The expected $4.5-million purse supplement for Maryland racing has apparently shrunk to $3 million, according to Mike Hopkins, acting executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission.
The Maryland Jockey Club revealed Wednesday details of the accident to an exercise rider who was killed Tuesday morning during training at Pimlico Race Course near Baltimore.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported that pari-mutuel handle from all sources totaled $535,813,090 in 2001, compared to $530,833,234 in 2000, despite the fact that there were three less live Thoroughbred days and 14 fewer Standardbred days run during the year. The increase in total handle was just 1 percent.
In an about-face, the Maryland Jockey Club will keep the Pimlico Race Course barn area open all winter. The MJC attributed the move to an "unanticipated increase in demand by trainers for stabling."
For one day, the sun shone on Maryland racing. On July 7, closing day at Pimlico, kids frolicked in the infield, nearly 6,500 patrons risked their dollars on the horses, and Joe De Francis, president and CEO of the Maryland Jockey Club, got dunked in the dunking booth.
Under the plan approved Wednesday by the Maryland Racing Commission, Thoroughbreds will cease racing in the state from July 8 to Aug. 7. During that period, Colonial Downs, the track in Virginia managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, will run its 25-day meet.
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