The Laurel Park winter stakes schedule will look slightly different in 2016, the Maryland Jockey Club announced November 17 at the monthly meeting of the Maryland Racing Commission.

That was one of several items — along with days requests from the MJC and other track operators — on the docket.

For one thing, the Laurel winter meet will extend through the weekend of the Kentucky Derby; Derby day is May 7 next year.  That means that some longtime Pimlico fixtures, such as the Federico Tesio Stakes, will be run at Laurel rather than at Old Hilltop.

For another, most of the $100,000 stakes that populated last winter’s racing have been cut to $75,000 for 2016.  Some of that money will go back into the purse account for overnight purses.

A new stake, for three-year-old fillies, will be run April 9 at Laurel: the $100,000 Weber City Miss Stakes, named for the Maryland-bred filly who won the 1980 edition of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, one of her four career graded stakes wins, including the Grade 1 Beldame in 1982.  The Weber City Miss will be a “win and you’re in” race for the Black-Eyed Susan, to be run the day prior to the Preakness.  Likewise, the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes will become a “win and you’re in” event for the Preakness.

Preakness day is May 21, 2016.

In other news:

  • New chairman John McDaniel took the gavel from outgoing chair Bruce Quade today, calling Maryland “the shining city on the hill of racing in America.”  McDaniel pledged continuity.  “My theme is to stay the course and hopefully build on what we’ve been able to accomplish with cooperation from all facets of the industry,” he said, “to keep moving forward.”
  • The Commission approved a $100 assessment per licensee to subsidize the Jockey Injury Compensation Fund, which provides workers’ comp for jockeys.  That was the same amount as in prior years.
  • Starting November 21, Laurel Park’s post time will shift to 12:25, 10 minutes earlier than it had been.  That, said Stronach Group chief operating officer Tim Ritvo, is to move 10 minutes away from Gulfstream Park’s post time.
  • Ritvo told the meeting that facilities renovations are continuing apace.  “There’s a lot more renovations coming at both facilities… a lot of surprises,” he said.  He reported that the second new barn at Laurel is nearing completion, and a third has been ordered.  He also said the company was looking into the possibility of opening another new off-track wagering facility, this one in Boonsboro, which is in Washington County, near the Antietam Battlefield.
  • The Commission approved requests for live racing at the State Fair in Timonium, in the form of seven days of live racing over a 10-day period; 54 live days of harness racing at Rosecroft; and for a day of racing at the Cecil County Breeders Fair at Fair Hill.