On the heels of a successful 28-day meet at Pimlico Race Course, the Maryland Jockey Club shifts live racing to Laurel Park for the opening of its summer meet with a nine-race twilight program July 1.
First race post time is 3:40 p.m. EDT; twilight Fridays were started last summer at the track. Among the upgrades is the installation of a new LED high-definition board measuring 36-feet high and 56-feet wide for the infield, part of an ongoing $20 million renovation and improvement program at Laurel.
In all, 94 horses were entered for Friday, an average of 10.4 starters per race topped by 16 in the finale, a $22,000 maiden-claiming event for 3-year-olds and up at 5 1/2 furlongs on the Dahlia Turf Course.
Highlighting the card are a $40,000 maiden special weight event at five furlongs on the main track for 2-year-old fillies featuring the debut of Sagamore Racing homebred Riley's Choice, and a $45,000 optional/claiming allowance event for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the All Along Turf Course.
Maryland's leading trainer in 2014 and 2015, Kieron Magee, has won or shared four consecutive meet titles heading into the summer stand. He tied Mike Trombetta with eight wins last summer at Laurel and led Laurel's 2015 fall and 2016 winter/spring meet prior to his second straight Pimlico title.
Jockey Trevor McCarthy looks for his third straight Maryland meet championship after winning six races in his final two days to clinch the Pimlico title with 29 victories closing day, June 26.
The 24-day summer meet at Laurel will offer racing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Aug. 21 with free admission and general parking. There will be a special holiday program Monday, July 4, and no live racing July 8. First race post time on Saturdays and Sundays is 1:25 p.m.