The condition book for the race meeting at the Maryland State Fair at the Timonium Fair grounds has been released (here).

The track will hold seven days of live racing in 2014, down from 10 in 2013 but in line with several previous years.  It will open on Friday, August 22 and run Friday-Sunday that weekend and Friday-Monday (which is Labor Day) the following weekend.

There are once again no stakes on the docket.  The richest race on offer is an allowance/optional claimer with a tag of $40,000 down to $35,000; the purse for that race is $35,000.

Maiden special weight races carry a purse of $30,000 — well below the $40,000 now standard at Maryland’s “mile tracks” but more than competitive with Charles Town and Penn National.

Last year’s Timonium meet included three mid-week days of racing, bringing the total to 10.  But the additional days were something of a flop, with lower crowds, reduced handle, and small fields the norm.  Average starters per race declined more than seven percent last year, from just over seven to about 6.5, and the average daily handle dropped 14 percent to less than $370,000.

With fewer days, officials hope to see the average starters per race and average daily handle rise.

Laurel Park opens for its fall meeting on September 5.