The Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday that it will close the Pimlico Race Course backstretch from Nov. 29 until Feb. 29, 2004 in order to complete backstretch refurbishing projects. Pimlico will reopen for training on March 1, 2004.The 400 horses that normally are stabled at the northwest Baltimore track during the winter will be transferred to Laurel Park, Bowie training center or to private farms. The Maryland Jockey Club will pay for transporting the horses that relocate to Laurel or Bowie. "We want to do it in a way that least affects the horsemen, which is why we selected this time frame," said Lou Raffetto, chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. "This is the period when the turf horses are turned out for the winter and some horsemen go to Florida, which opens up stalls at our other facilities."
Pimlico hosts live racing during the spring, with a meet that includes the Preakness Stakes, and the current five-week summer-fall stand that concludes October 5.