The recent Maryland State Fair meet at Timonium proved successful on several fronts, including what is believed to be record pari-mutuel wagering and strong participation from Maryland-based horsemen.

In addition, trainers Kieron Magee and Claudio Gonzalez earned the largest prizes in the trainers’ bonus contest.

According to statistics provided by the Maryland State Fair, total handle for the seven-day session was $5,261,522, up 47.2% from $3,572,474 for the same number of days in 2016. On Aug. 27, the first Saturday of the meet, wagering on 10 races totaled $1,085,504, perhaps an all-time high for one day at Timonium.

There were three 10-race cards and four nine-race cards for a total of 66 races. Average wagering per race came in at $79,720. Average daily handle per day was $751,646, up from $510,353 last year.

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September 2017 Newsletter Available

newsletter2017 9The September 2017 edition of the Horsemen's Newsletter is now online and available for download. To view this edition click herearrow

The Horsemen's Newsletter is published monthly by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and is mailed to licensed owners and trainers in the state of Maryland.



Horses returned to a sealed main track the morning of Aug. 29, eight days after the renovation of the Laurel Park dirt surface began.

The surface was sealed before and after the break because of steady, light rain from a disturbance off the Atlantic Coast. The morning featured mostly light gallops.

“It sounds nice (when the horses gallop on it) and it feels better,” trainer Katy Voss said, “but you can’t necessarily tell off of a sealed surface. It certainly has more cushion on it than before—at least it feels like it does. It seems softer and kinder but that could be a combination of the weather and how they sealed it.

“It could be Thursday or Friday before we get a good handle on it.”

Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said though the track was reopened, the work “isn’t over by any means.”

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DAY 8: Fine-Tuning of Laurel Surface The Final Step

The crew working on renovation of the main track at Laurel Park continued to fine-tune the surface Aug. 28 with the intention of having it ready for training on Tuesday morning.
The top material was replaced by Aug. 27. Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said the surface was measured and showed depths of 2 ½ inches along to the rail to 5 ½ inches at the crown, so the crew worked to even it out. Water was added to the surface to facilitate the process.

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DAY 6/7: Crew Prepares To Replace Material Atop Laurel Surface

After additional compression tests on the base Aug. 26, the crew working on the renovation of the main track at Laurel Park Aug. 27 was preparing the cushion in advance of replacing the surface material.

The project—the first time in about 12 years the entire dirt track was taken down to its base, examined, and refreshed—began Aug. 21 and has remained on schedule thanks to daily dawn-to-dusk shifts and perfect weather for late August.

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DAY 5: Laurel Surface Renovation Enters Final Stages

The main-track renovation at Laurel Park continued Aug. 25 with double-checks on two of the larger areas in which the base required regrading, including one toward the outside of the surface just before the second finish line.

Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said as repair work winds down, the goal remains to have the cushion back in place by Aug. 28 or Aug. 29.

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