Maryland Commission Approves Resumption Of Racing At Laurel Park - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Maryland Commission Approves Resumption Of Racing At Laurel Park

Laurel Park

The Maryland Racing Commission has voted to grant approval for racing to resume on Saturday at Laurel Park, reports The Racing Biz. More than 100 horses worked over the track on Thursday morning, following an analysis and changes made by veteran track surfaces manager John Passero on Wednesday.

Passero served as senior vice president of racing surfaces for the Maryland Jockey Club earlier in his career, and his assessment was requested by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association in a letter sent to track management earlier this week.

“The track seems great,” trainer Tim Keefe, also president of the MTHA, told The Racing Biz on Thursday. “It sounds good, and the feedback from some of the riders has been that it has good bounce to it, good support.”

According to MTHA, five horses suffered fatal injuries in April at Laurel, including two on Thursday, April 20. Live racing was cancelled the next day, and neither of last weekend's programs were run. A card that was scheduled for April 27 did not move forward due to lack of entries.

Track management has maintained that measurements of various components of the track surface currently fall “within industry norms” and also that the rate of fatal injury so far for 2023 is below that of the same period last year, at 1.3 per 1,000 starts as compared to 1.98 per 1,000 starts last year.

Information provided by the state shows that 13 fatalities have occurred at Laurel so far this year, four of which occurred in a race, and five of which occurred in training, and four of which were listed as “medical” and not the direct result of an orthopedic injury. The state's data show six fatalities in April, though one of those was considered “medical” since it was the result of laminitis that occurred after a case of cellulitis.

A meeting of the Maryland Racing Commission was scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, but the MTHA and the Maryland Jockey Club, which manages both Laurel Park and Pimlico Racetrack, agreed prior to the MRC meeting to allow Passero to analyze the surface. Passero made a few changes on Wednesday, and recommended that he would have the track ready for racing on Saturday, April 29.

Entries were taken Wednesday for Saturday's card, including five stakes races which were originally scheduled to be run on April 22. A total of 116 horses were entered for 11 races.

Read more at The Racing Biz.

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