In a letter to the Maryland Racing Commission and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday its intention to open Laurel Park for training by early next week, weather permitting.Training hours will be the normal 6:00 to 10:00, with a harrow break at 8:00. Live racing will continue at Pimlico Race Course through Monday, Jan. 17 and is expected to return to Laurel on Saturday, Jan. 22. "At long last the renovation to the racing surfaces at Laurel Park is nearly complete," said Jim Gagliano, executive vice president of Maryland racing operations. "As we have stated in the past, we want to thank the horsemen for their patience and continued support of racing in Maryland." Track designer Ted Molloy and his crew, which includes Maryland Jockey Club's Glen Kozak and Ken Brown, have proof-rolled the entire racing surface and now believe that the strength and durability of the base are now 100%. Over the next few days the base will be rolled and the track will be topped with the final layer of cushion. "While the project has taken many unexpected turns and the delays were disappointing and a major inconvenience, we believe the end result will provide hope for the future of Maryland racing and a testament to Magna Entertainment's commitment to racing at Laurel Park," added Gagliano. The backstretch and racing surfaces at Laurel Park have been closed since mid-June as Magna Entertainment Corp. began a multi-million renovation, which includes the widening of both racing surfaces. The dirt course has been increased from 75 to 95 feet, while the turf course will be expanded from 75 to 142 feet.
Workers moved 500,000 cubic yards of dirt, trucked in 15,000 tons of limestone, 20,000 tons of topsoil, 25,000 tons of sand and 71,000 tons of stone mixed with crushed stone. They brought in 15,000 linear feet of fiber-optic cable and 15 miles of electrical wiring.