The Laurel fall meet is expected to open Nov. 4. The headline event for the nine-week meet is the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) Nov. 20. The backstretch and racing surfaces at Laurel have been closed since mid-June, when parent company Magna Entertainment Corp. began a $16-million renovation.The width of the turf course will be expanded from 75 to 142 feet, while the dirt course width will be increased from 75 to 95 feet.
Pimlico Race Course will remain open for live racing until at least Nov. 2 while work continues on the racing surfaces at Laurel Park.The Maryland Racing Commission approved the Maryland Jockey Club's request to extend the Pimlico meet at a Sept. 14 meeting. Reconstruction of the Laurel racing surfaces has fallen behind schedule because of inclement weather this summer, the MJC said in a release.Pimlico was scheduled to race through Oct. 11. Two $50,000 stakes were added to the schedule: the Sonny Hine Stakes (Oct. 16) and Japan Racing Association Stakes (Oct. 23), as well as two $75,000 state-bred stakes--the Heavenly Cause and the Rollicking)--Oct. 30.