Horse racing resumed at Maryland’s Laurel Park this past weekend after a two-day moratorium over horsemen’s concerns about the safety of the dirt surface.
Last week, horsemen – noting horse injuries that included the deaths of five horses in April – held back their horses for races on Thursday, April 27, resulting in the cancellation of race cards for Thursday and Friday.
It was the latest chapter for a state that offers sports betting Maryland at numerous online and retail outlets.
Investigation Follows Emergency Meeting
With the state Horse Racing Commission calling an emergency meeting late last week, there was an agreement between the horsemen’s group and the track operator, the Maryland Jockey Club, that an independent expert would analyze the surface and make recommendations.
That expert, John Passero, was preferred by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. He reportedly examined the track and made recommendations regarding maintenance to create more cushion and make the surface more consistent. Passero’s recommendations involved a change in harrowing – a system of raking the surface – and watering the track.
Passero was previously the track superintendent at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and the former Bowie Race Track.
The Maryland Jockey Club had insisted all along that the track was safe but agreed to allow the further examination by Passero. The MJC is owned by Canada-based 1st Racing, previously known as The Stronach Group.
Horse racing betting works on a pari-mutuel system, where the winning bettors share a pool and odds shift based on the amount bet on each horse – this is different from the lines on sporting events at Maryland betting apps where the customer is facing the sportsbook operator.
Maryland Racing Moves To Pimlico Next Week
The current racing session at Laurel Park will end this weekend. The final race date of this session at Laurel is this Sunday, May 7.
Maryland horse racing then moves to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore starting May 11 where there is a short meet. The big highlight is Preakness weekend, with Black-Eyed Susan Day on May 19 and the 148th running of the Preakness Stakes on May 20.
The Preakness is the second leg of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. The first leg is the Kentucky Derby, this Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.
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