Laurel Cancels De Francis Dash
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Vineyard Haven won the 2009 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

Laurel Park has suspended the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. II) from its fall stakes schedule. A staple of the autumn program since 2001, the Dash was downgraded from a grade I to a grade II by the American Graded Stakes Committee for its 2010 running.

“Putting the Dash on the shelf for the year has nothing to do with it no longer being a grade I race,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “We didn’t card it in 2008 due to a purse account shortfall and feel the $300,000 purse would be better suited on daily purses throughout the meet.”

The 57-day fall meeting will begin Sept. 11 and conclude Dec. 18, and will include 19 stakes worth $1.45 million. Headlining the stand is the 25th running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million on Oct. 2.

The current Laurel Park summer meeting ends Aug. 22. Live racing shifts to Timonium for the seven-day fair meet (Aug. 27-29 and Sept. 3-6).

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