From a Maryland Jockey Club release
The Maryland Jockey Club announced today a $4 million fall-winter stakes schedule at Laurel Park led by the $900,000 Jim McKay Maryland Million on Saturday, Oct. 17 and three new graded-stakes races.
The $400,000 Commonwealth Derby (G2) for 3-year-olds, and the $250,000 Commonwealth Turf Cup (G2), for 3-year-olds and up, will be contested at Laurel on Saturday, Sept. 19. The $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (G3), for 3-year-old fillies, will be run on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The Sept. 26 program will also include five $60,000 stakes races for Virginia-breds/Virginia sired horses.
The Commonwealth Derby, Oaks and Turf Cup will be presented for the first time at Laurel by the Virginia Equine Alliance and will all be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Past winners of the Commonwealth Derby include War Dancer, Kitten’s Joy, English Channel, Gio Ponti and Paddy O’Prado. English Channel and Paddy O’Prado, along with Showing Up, Turbo Compressor and Rahystrada, were also winners of the Commonwealth Turf Cup from 2005-2013.
The 31st running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million, a program introduced in 1986 for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions, will feature nine stakes, including the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic for 3-year-old and up at 1 1/8 miles.
In all, Laurel will feature 36 stakes races for $4 million. The purse money represents a $350,000 increase over total stakes last year. There will be five Saturday programs with three or more stakes races, including Nov. 14, when six stakes are headlined by the 25th running of the $350,000 DeFrancis Dash and the $100,000 City of Laurel, and Sept. 12, when the $150,000 Lady Baltimore, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, will be supported by the $100,000 Laurel Dash, the $75,000 Laurel Futurity and the $75,000 Selima Stakes.
“We are excited and very much looking forward to the fall and winter racing schedule at Laurel Park,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. “We’re happy to work with our neighbors and the Virginia Equine Alliance in bringing the three races to Laurel this fall. We’ve tried to group some races together this coming year to have some big Saturday programs. We’re delighted with the help and support our horsemen have given us and we’re optimistic about the remainder of the year for Maryland racing.”