Work underway on Laurel turf course; dirt track freshened

Work began recently on the Laurel Park turf course renovation project and is expected to ramp up as the weather improves.

During a March 15 Zoom meeting with horsemen, jockeys and Maryland Racing Commission representatives, Maryland Jockey Club Track Superintendent Chris Bosley provided an update on the turf course and the dirt track at Laurel. The plan for the turf course was developed earlier this winter by The Stronach Group.

Bosley said the maintenance crew the second week of March began thatching the course and vacuuming off the dead material. Aeration, which he called an “intense process” that involves use of deep tines, began soon after. The goal is to pierce the turf 12 inches below the surface; the tines are currently reaching down 7 1/2 to 10 inches depending on the location on the course.

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MRC safety and welfare directives effective April 1

The Maryland Commission through discussion with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horseman's Association and the Maryland Jockey Club developed the following best practices and regulation changes for the safety and welfare of the horse. The updated protcols are effective April 1.

The implementation and monitoring of these directives shall be the primary responsibility of the Equine Medical Director and their staff. The Stewards may impose disciplinary action when necessary.

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Laurel barns quarantined; MJC issuing EHV-1 protocols

The Maryland Jockey Club has limited equine travel at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course and is preparing official protocols in the wake an equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) case that has led to the quarantine of four barns at Laurel.

The situation was discussed March 9 during a Zoom meeting organized by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen Association. Regular updates will be provided for the duration of the quarantine period, which at the outset is 14 days beginning March 8

The MJC later said that racing has been canceled Friday, March 12, because of the impact of the EHV-1 quarantine. Races from Friday will be brought back as extras March 13-14.

“A rapid response to this is how we keep it contained,” said Steve Koch, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group who is based at Laurel. “We have to be super-diligent these 14 days.”

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Laurel reopens to limited number of patrons, owners now allowed backstretch access

Laurel Park reopen for a limited number of patrons on live race days Friday, March 5, and also beginning immediately, licensed owners will be permitted access to the backstretch once again under specific protocols.

As was the case last fall when Laurel Park’s frontside reopened for patrons for about a month, the limit remains 250 people per orders from the state of Maryland and Anne Arundel County. 

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March 2021 Newsletter Available

newsletter2021 3The March 2021 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.


Distances slightly altered for Dahlia, Henry Clark turf stakes

Due to necessary turf maintenance and the available lanes that are able to utilized, distances for the turf stakes Dahlia and Henry Clark on April 17 at Laurel Park must be changed to 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

The purse for each stakes is $100,000. The Dahlia, for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up, and the Henry Clark for 3-year-olds and up, had both been scheduled for one mile on the grass.

Nominations to both stakes close April 3.


Purse Release

150 DAY







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