from a Maryland Jockey Club release

The Maryland Jockey Club concluded its spring meeting at Pimlico Race Course last weekend with total wagering of $188 million, an increase of 12% from a year ago. However, the average daily handle was 12% lower than 2012, down from $5.2 million to $4.6 million, because of an increase in live racing days.

“There were a lot of positives about the meet,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “We decided to race through the Belmont Stakes for the first time since 2008, which is significant for two reasons. The first, we are a Triple Crown track and it is important to be open during the entire series. Secondly, we want to sustain the momentum built during Preakness but like the policy change made to the infield, it is going to take time for this to materialize.”

Preakness weekend was a major success as more than 156,000 fans attended the Black-Eyed Susan (38,957) and Preakness day (117,203) cards at Old Hilltop. During the two days, there were 26 high-quality races, including the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), and performances by nine musical acts in the famed infield.

“Opening up the infield on Friday was a home run,” added Chuckas. “We will continue to work to find ways to improve the weekend. It was also special to see D. Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens win the Preakness with Oxbow. Wayne is one of the best ambassadors in our sport and Gary’s comeback was complete with a crafty ride that stole the race for its Hall of Fame connections.”