The $150,000 General George Handicap (gr. II) has attracted a short, but stellar band of older runners. The seven furlong headliner at Laurel Park Feb. 16 features Fabulous Strike, one of the top sprinters in the country.
A bang-up edition of the Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) has attracted eight fillies and mares led by New York shipper Seventh Street, grade I winner Dream Rush, and By the Light from the powerful Richard Dutrow stable. All three will vie for favoritism in the seven-furlong main track test Feb. 14 at Laurel Park.
Magna Entertainment Corp. said Feb. 4 it has arranged to pay a $28.5-million licensing fee for slot machines -- but the money will be placed in an escrow account at a Maryland bank.
In a jaw-dropping revision, Maryland received requests for far fewer slot machines in five license proposals than previously thought, and two of the six bidders -- including Laurel Park owner Magna Entertainment Corp. -- failed to pay $22.5 million in required up-front fees, a state official said Feb. 3.
A winter storm that has spanned half the country has led to cancellation of live racing and full-card simulcast programs at various tracks.
The Maryland Jockey Club concluded the 2008 racing season with average wagering figures 22.5% lower than 2007. All sources handle totaled $668.1 million as compared to $875.8 million the previous year. Racing 14 fewer days in 2008, the daily handle decreased from nearly $3.8 million to just over $2.9 million each day.
Magna Entertainment Corp. announced Nov. 26 an agreement with MI Developments, the company's controlling shareholder, which will allow it to "recapitalize and reposition MEC to enable it to pursue its strategy of horse racing, gaming, and entertainment on a standalone basis."
The Maryland Department of Agriculture reported Nov. 26 that all 25 horses in Laurel Park's barn 1 have tested negative for the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus on a second round of tests.
The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has announced its 2008 award winners. A presentation of the honors will take place at the organization's annual Christmas party at Laurel Park Dec. 1.
With revenue from slot machines probably a few years away, Thoroughbred racing in Maryland will continue in no-frills mode for the immediate future.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture reported Nov. 17 that no horses in Laurel Park's Barn 1, where a filly who tested positive for neurologic equine herpesvirus was stabled, are showing signs of the virus.
The Maryland Jockey Club Nov. 14 announced until further notice no horses will be allowed to ship into Laurel Park except those from the Bowie Training Center on a Maryland Jockey Club shuttle.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture confirmed Nov. 13 that a 2-year old filly at Laurel Park in barn 1 has tested presumptive positive for equine herpesvirus pending confirmatory testing from the University of Kentucky. The horse, who could not stand yesterday morning, was sitting up and eating this morning with no fever.
Ten months after Silmaril retired with a victory in the What A Summer Stakes, her multiple stakes winning stablemate Lexi Star also went out a winner in an allowance feature at Laurel Park Nov. 12.
A horse at Laurel Park showing neurologic signs has caused Maryland Department of Agriculture officials to place an investigational animal hold order on barn 1 pending laboratory results.
Maryland voters approved legalizing slot machines Tuesday in a constitutional amendment, paving the way for up to 15,000 machines in five locations and ending years of debate between lawmakers who never managed to pass the measure on their own.
Leading Laurel Park rider Sheldon Russell, who has been plagued with injuries that have repeatedly interrupted his apprentice year, was hurt again when his mount broke down Oct. 31 during the second race.
The Maryland Jockey Club said it is "aggressively supporting" a campaign to win approval via a Nov. 4 statewide referendum for slot machines at five locations in the state.
A Maryland delegate is planning to propose a resolution to rename the state-bred and state-sired event Jim McKay Maryland Million Day.
Bill Donovan, whose popular "Backtracks" column appeared in The Blood-Horse, will be memorialized at Laurel Park Sat., Sept. 6 at noon.
The 10-day Laurel Park summer meeting ended Aug. 21 with jockey Julian Pimentel, trainer Gary Capuano, and owner Sondra Bender capturing individual titles.
The fall stakes schedule for Laurel Park was approved Aug. 19 at the monthly Maryland Racing Commission meeting.
Major stakes will be scrapped and the Pimlico Race Course barn area closed until next year's spring meet under changes announced Aug. 6.
A Magna Entertainment Corp. executive said the company has no plans to sell either of its Maryland racetracks but indicated the results of a statewide November referendum on slot machines could play a role in any decision.
The Maryland racing industry is throwing its support behind a campaign for slot machines, but it remains to be seen whether any racetracks would get the gambling devices should the public approve a statewide ballot measure in November.
Rosie Napravnik, Scott Lake and Robert Cole won individual titles as the Laurel Park winter meeting came to a close April 13.
Jockeys Ryan Fogelsonger and Geovany Garcia avoided serious injury after both fell hard to the ground after being unseated from their mounts during the first race at Laurel Park April 10.
The unusual racing career of Dane Kobiskie reached another milestone today when the lanky jockey-turned trainer saddled his first career winner in the last race at Laurel Park March 30.
Jockeys Sheldon Russell and Oliver Castillo both will be out four to six months after suffering injuries during separate spills March 22 at Laurel Park.
The financial health of Magna Entertainment Corp. could become part of the debate about legalizing slot machines in Maryland, as supporters and detractors ready for a statewide referendum in November.
Tim Tullock trained Gattopardo took another step towards the Preakness by winning at Laurel Park March 1.
A wintry mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain that is expected to hit the Baltimore-Washington region forced Maryland Jockey Club officials to cancel live racing at Laurel Park Feb. 22.
The day after undefeated Bustin Stones won the Feb. 18 General George Handicap at Laurel Park by a head, trainer Bruce Levine said the New York-bred will make his grade I debut in the $300,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct April 5.
Bustin Stones led from gate to wire and held off a late challenge by Lord Snowdon to notch his fifth consecutive win, and first graded-stakes score, in the General George Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park Feb. 18.
A tidy six-length winner of Aqueduct's Fiesta Lady Stakes in her last start, Marty Cunningham's Golden Dawn repeated the margin and added graded status to her resume when she took the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park Feb. 16.
Apprentice jockey Craig Gibbs rode the first four winners on Laurel Park's nine-race card Feb. 8, helping the 20-year-old rider move into a first place tie with Rosie Napravnik atop the winter meet standings.
At their monthly meeting Jan. 29, the Maryland Racing Commission accepted the Maryland Jockey Club's proposal to alter the live racing calendar for the final seven weeks of the current Laurel winter meeting.
The 7-year-old mare became just the 17th Maryland-bred millionare Jan. 12 at Laurel Park.
Silmaril, a 7-year-old Maryland-bred mare, will attempt to reach the $1-million mark in earnings Jan. 12 at Laurel Park.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced its total handle declined by 8% during 2007, with five fewer racing days. All sources of handle totaled $883.8 million as compared to $960.2 million from the same period in 2006. The daily average handle from all sources decreased 6.5 % from $4.1 million to $3.8 million.
Morgan Wayson Jr.'s Apple Special turned in the most sparkling race of his career as he zipped past seven other two-year-olds in the year-end feature at Laurel Park, the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship, to score his first stakes victory.
Luis Garcia, Scott Lake, and Robert Cole have wrapped up year-end titles at the major Maryland tracks for the calendar year in the jockey, trainer and owner divisions, respectively.
Trainer Ken Allard speculated that Ask the Moon was a quick filly, but he didn't know exactly how quick.
Jockey Abel Castellano reached the 1,000 win plateau when he guided Johnny Z. to victory in the fifth race at Laurel Park Wednesday afternoon. The 24-year-old achieved the milestone with his wife Claudia and two-year-old son Andrew in attendance.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Nov. 28 that president and chief operating officer Lou Raffetto Jr. will be leaving effective immediately to pursue other opportunities, and that Chris Dragone, a former senior vice president and general manager at the MJC, will take over his duties.
Jockey Travis Dunkelberger reached the 3,000-win plateau when he guided Casey Doon, his only mount on the card, to victory in the eighth race at Laurel Park Nov. 28. The 30-year-old became the 140th rider to reach the milestone, according to Equibase.
Benny the Bull saved ground in the early going, angled four-wide entering the lane and then pulled away for a one-length victory in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Park on Nov. 24, scoring the first graded stakes win of his career.
The Maryland Racing Commission has approved the 2008 Laurel Park winter stakes schedule, which was trimmed by two stakes. The 15-week meet will feature 17 stakes worth a combined $1.75 million.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred Talent Search has put together a banner year, placing in seven of eight starts, while winning three times. He has a golden opportunity for his first graded score Nov. 24 when he takes on seven challengers in the $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at six furlongs on the Laurel Park main track.
- By Tom LaMarra
Maryland racing interests are optimistic over passage of legislation to authorize a statewide referendum on slot machines in November 2008, but they indicated there remains a need for financial relief before the slots measure even comes up for a vote.
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