Laurel Park officials decided Nov. 29 not to use the turf course for the remainder of the year. Heavy rains in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. region forced races off the grass four times last week. One turf race had been scheduled for the Nov. 30 card.
The Laurel Park racing office will attempt to counter the loss of turf racing with the arrival of new horses stabled at the Maryland track and the Bowie Training Center. Nearly 25 trainers are wintering in the state, including prominent horsemen such as Scott Lake and Jamie Ness, as well as longtime New England-based John Rigattieri and Charles Assimakopoulos, who have been coming south for the winter for years.
According to track figures, 117 turf races were conducted at Laurel this fall with an average field size of 9.8 runners per race.
The Maryland Jockey Club also announced Nov. 29 that for the final two weeks of the fall meeting (Tuesday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 17), admission will be free with complimentary general parking.