Three of the nation's elite sprinters and the top two local speedsters are among the 37 pre-entries for the 19th running of the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Park Oct. 24.
The Maryland Jockey Club unveiled the 2010 Preakness logo Sept. 17. The middle leg of the Triple Crown, a $1 million race at 1 3/16 mile, will be run May 15 at Pimilco.
The Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association have agreed to the live racing dates and stakes schedule for the balance of 2009, including the return of the Grade I Frank J. De Francis Dash after a one-year hiatus.
A 16.4% increase in average daily handle from out-of-state wagering outlets fueled an 8.9% jump in average daily handle from all sources during the spring meet at Pimlico Race Course.
Wagering was up on several segments of the Preakness day card, according to data released May 18 by Maryland Jockey Club officials, fueled in part by the showdown between Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) victress Rachel Alexandra.
Kent Desormeaux, one of Maryland's all-time leading riders and a two-time winner of the Preakness (gr. I), took home the $14,000 first prize in the inaugural Pimlico Jockey Challenge May 15.
A Maryland harness track that hasn't offered live racing in almost a year also lost its Thoroughbred simulcast rights April 28 when it was ordered by the Maryland Racing Commission to cease operations.
The Maryland Jockey Club April 23 announced the winners of this year's Preakness media awards. Honorees will be recognized and awards will be presented at the May 14 Alibi Breakfast in the Terrace Dining Room at Pimlico Race Course. The ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., two days prior to the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Pimlico Race Course has reduced its spring meet to 20 days and won't hold the Pimlico Special this year. The grade I race for older horses wasn't run in 2007 for financial reasons, but returned in 2008 with a reduced purse of $250,000.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Feb. 5 it is redefining the infield experience on Preakness Day, May 16 with three rock performances.
The Maryland Jockey Club concluded the 2008 racing season with average wagering figures 22.5% lower than 2007. All sources handle totaled $668.1 million as compared to $875.8 million the previous year. Racing 14 fewer days in 2008, the daily handle decreased from nearly $3.8 million to just over $2.9 million each day.
Pimlico Race Course's clubhouse cupola and a Black-Eyed Susan flower are prominent in the logo for the 134th Preakness Stakes (gr. I), which was unveiled by the Maryland Jockey Club Dec. 16.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture reported Nov. 26 that all 25 horses in Laurel Park's barn 1 have tested negative for the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus on a second round of tests.
With revenue from slot machines probably a few years away, Thoroughbred racing in Maryland will continue in no-frills mode for the immediate future.
With the Nov. 18 announcement by the Maryland Department of Agriculture that the final 20 samples from Laurel Park's barn 1 tested negative for neurologic equine herpesvirus, the Maryland Jockey Club has amended its restrictions on off-site runners racing at Laurel Park.
The Maryland Jockey Club Nov. 14 announced until further notice no horses will be allowed to ship into Laurel Park except those from the Bowie Training Center on a Maryland Jockey Club shuttle.
Leading Laurel Park rider Sheldon Russell, who has been plagued with injuries that have repeatedly interrupted his apprentice year, was hurt again when his mount broke down Oct. 31 during the second race.
The Maryland Jockey Club said it is "aggressively supporting" a campaign to win approval via a Nov. 4 statewide referendum for slot machines at five locations in the state.
The 10-day Laurel Park summer meeting ended Aug. 21 with jockey Julian Pimentel, trainer Gary Capuano, and owner Sondra Bender capturing individual titles.
Major stakes will be scrapped and the Pimlico Race Course barn area closed until next year's spring meet under changes announced Aug. 6.
Hampered by a double-digit handle decline on its biggest race card, the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Pimlico Race Course realized a 16.5% drop in all-sources wagering for its 31-day meet that closed June 7.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced May 29 that Tom Chuckas has been named president and chief operating officer, effective June 1
Change may be in the wind yet again regarding upper-level Maryland Jockey Club management, but as of May 15, officials with MJC owner Magna Entertainment Corp. said there's nothing to announce.
Turf writer Sean Clancy, photographer Brandon Benson, columnist Dick Jerardi and sports producer Mike Pupo will be honored by the Maryland Jockey Club with this year's Preakness media awards during the annual Alibi Breakfast May 15 at Pimlico's Terrace Dining Room.
Live racing in Maryland shifts to Pimlico Race Course April 17 for the eight-week spring meeting. The headline event of the stand is the 133rd running of the $1-million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, on May 17.
Lou Raffetto Jr., most recently president and chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, has been named chief executive officer of the National Steeplechase Association.
Magna Entertainment Corp. confirmed March 3 the resignation of Joseph De Francis from the company's board of directors.
Joe De Francis will shortly resign as a member of the Magna Entertainment Corp. board of directors, according to a published report.
At their monthly meeting Jan. 29, the Maryland Racing Commission accepted the Maryland Jockey Club's proposal to alter the live racing calendar for the final seven weeks of the current Laurel winter meeting.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced its total handle declined by 8% during 2007, with five fewer racing days. All sources of handle totaled $883.8 million as compared to $960.2 million from the same period in 2006. The daily average handle from all sources decreased 6.5 % from $4.1 million to $3.8 million.
- By Ryan Conley
Chris Dragone knows he is wading into some fiery situations as the new head of the Maryland Jockey Club, but said he is more than willing to take whatever heat necessary to right a rocky ship.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Nov. 28 that president and chief operating officer Lou Raffetto Jr. will be leaving effective immediately to pursue other opportunities, and that Chris Dragone, a former senior vice president and general manager at the MJC, will take over his duties.
The Maryland Racing Commission has approved the 2008 Laurel Park winter stakes schedule, which was trimmed by two stakes. The 15-week meet will feature 17 stakes worth a combined $1.75 million.
- By Tom LaMarra
With a special session of the Maryland legislature fast approaching, the Maryland racing and breeding industry is planning a major push for financial assistance in the form of slot machines.
Maryland Jockey Club officials have applied for a 60-day winter meet--15 fewer days than usual--at Laurel Park beginning Jan. 1, 2008.
- By Tom LaMarra
Magna Entertainment Corp. has exercised its option, pursuant to an agreement with certain companies controlled by Joe De Francis and his sister, Karin De Francis, to acquire the remaining interest in the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.
Republican members of the Maryland House of Delegates have proposed a state budget that would limit growth in spending and derive hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from slot machines to combat a $1.5-billion shortfall. There were no details on how the horse industry would benefit.
In a program billed "Ten Days at 10 Percent -- Racing's Best Bet," pari-mutuel takeout on Maryland's live races will be cut in half during Laurel Park's 10-day summer meet that runs from Aug. 10-23.
Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association have agreed to reduce purses and slash the stakes schedule for the balance of the 2007 racing campaign as the industry faces a $3 million shortfall in the purse account by the end of the calendar year.
- By Ryan Conley
Though the net result was slightly less than last year's effort, Pimlico Race Course still realized its fourth-highest wagering day ever May 19 for its card highlighted by the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The Maryland Jockey Club announced May 14 it will honor the late 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, his jockey Edgar Prado, and his surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson at Pimlico Race Course during Preakness Week.
Dr. Dean Richardson and jockey Edgar Prado will be presented with the Special Award of Merit as part of this year's Preakness media awards during the annual Alibi Breakfast in the terrace dining room at Pimlico Race Course May 17, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday.
Maryland lawmakers again addressed the issue of racetrack slot machines in committee March 6, but passage of legislation is hardly assured.
- By Nick Hahn
A bill that would allow Instant Racing as a means of funding for transportation and purses in Virginia is on the also-eligible's list hoping to make the field. Members of the Virginia House Committee on General Laws tabled the bill by voice vote Feb. 15. The bill could be brought back up in committee prior to Feb. 20. Virginia's General Assembly session ends Feb 24.
- By Nick Hahn
After gaining approval 23-14 by the Virginia Senate, an Instant Racing bill returns to the Virginia House where a similar bill failed to get out of committee several weeks ago.
The grade I Pimlico Special will not be carded in 2007 due to a limited amount of purse money.
Helped by an increase in all-source handle during the fall Laurel Park meeting, wagering involving Maryland Jockey Club racing topped $960 million in 2006.
- By Ryan Conley
Patrons of Maryland Jockey Club simulcast signals will have a full-time opportunity to bet on races from South America starting Dec. 29, by virtue of an agreement announced Dec. 6 at the 33rd Racing & Gaming Symposium in Tucson, Ariz.
Maryland's Thoroughbred industry is likely to be downsized considerably beginning in 2008 unless racetracks are allowed more gambling options such as slot machines, a racetrack executive said Nov. 14.
The head of a new Maryland panel designed to better market horse racing said he expects the state legislature to reach consensus on slot-machine legislation next year.
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