Horses can return to Laurel Park beginning Aug. 8

Horses can begin returning to Laurel Park Sunday, Aug. 8, and training—including workouts—will be available Tuesday, Aug. 10, Maryland racing officials announced July 28 during a community Zoom meeting hosted by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

The massive reconstruction of the Laurel dirt surface, which involved replacement of the base and substructure, is nearing completion. The original target date for training to begin was Aug. 6, but executives with 1/ST RACING (The Stronach Group) had said earlier that could be pushed back by several days.

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Laurel surface reconstruction remains on schedule

Plans remain on track to complete the reconstruction of the Laurel Park dirt surface by the end of July, Mike Rogers of 1/ST RACING (The Stronach Group) told the Maryland Racing Commission at its July 15 meeting.

The project began in earnest soon after the Preakness Stakes in late May. Laurel-based horses that did not seek stabling out of state were moved to Pimlico Race Course or the Maryland State Fair at Timonium.

Rogers said the massive project “seems to be on schedule,” with a target date of Aug. 6 for horses to be permitted to gallop on the new surface. The substructure is completed as is the base for three-quarters of the track, and the cushion has been laid from the top of the far turn through the homestretch. Work to rebuild the base on part of the backstretch, where the substructure required extensive repair, continues.

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MD casinos report strong June; purse contribution increases

Maryland casinos generated $161.49 million in revenue in June, an increase of 13% from the same month in 2019, according to figures released by Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

Comparisons with 2019 are made because the state’s six casinos were closed for most of June 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Purse Dedication Account, which earns 6% of revenue from video lottery terminals at all casinos, collected $6.28 million in June. The Thoroughbred share of 80% amounted to $5.02 million. That is up 12.8% from June 2019, when the Thoroughbred share of the PDA was $4.45 million.

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Overnight purses in Maryland to increase 15% for remainder of year

Overnight purses in Maryland will increase 15% across the board for the remainder of 2021 effective July 2, the next live racing at Pimlico Race Course. The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Board of Directors unanimously approved the increase during its June 29 meeting.

The idea was to devise a higher purse schedule that Maryland can sustain through the end of the year.

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Horsemen Advised To Avoid Adjunct Bleeder Meds

Effective immediately, horsemen are urged to discontinue the use of any and all adjunct bleeder medications for horses in training, including in particular, aminocaproic acid—commonly called Amicar.

Amicar and several other adjunct bleeder medications were placed on the Prohibited List in 2013 under the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances and Recommended Penalties Model Code and the National Uniform Medication Program. Aminocaproic acid, for example, is a Class 4 substance and penalty Class C.

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MTHA Board Approves Purse Distribution Changes

The MTHA Board of Directors voted June 29 to change overnight purse distribution levels effective July 2. First place will be 60%, up from 57%; second place is 20%, down from 21%; third place is 10% rather than 11%; and fourth place will be 5% instead of 6%. Fifth place will be 3% (plus 1% for the fifth-through-last place bonus) and sixth place will be 2% (plus a 2% for the fifth-through-last place bonus). The 4% bonus remains in place for horses that finish seventh through last.

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