Hibiscus Punch
Hibiscus Punch scored a stunner in the Fritchie. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski.

Highlighted by the annual mid-February renewals of the historic General George (G3) and Barbara Fritchie (G3), Laurel Park will launch the new calendar year with 17 stakes worth a total of $1.9 million in purses through the first three months of 2022.

Stakes action begins Saturday, Jan. 22 with six stakes worth $550,000 in purses topped by the $100,000 Spectacular Bid sprinting seven furlongs, kicking off the Maryland Jockey Club’s series for 3-year-olds. Sophomore fillies will travel six furlongs in the $100,000 Xtra Heat.

Also on the Jan. 22 schedule are the $100,000 Fire Plug for 4-year-olds and up and $100,000 What a Summer for fillies and mares 4 and older, both going six furlongs, and a pair of one-mile stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses, the $75,000 Jennings for 4-year-olds and up and $75,000 Geisha for females 4 and older.

Laurel will host its Winter Carnival Saturday, Feb. 19 with six stakes worth $900,000 in purses led by the 46th running of the $250,000 General George for 4-year-olds and up and 70th edition of the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older, both sprinting seven furlongs.

Winter Carnival will also see Maryland’s series for 3-year-olds continue with the $100,000 Miracle Wood going one mile. Three other $100,000 stakes are scheduled – the seven-furlong Wide Country for 3-year-old fillies, and the John B. Campbell for 4-year-olds and up and Nellie Morse for females 4 and older, both at 1 1/16 miles.

Sophomores will stretch out to 1 1/16 miles for the $100,000 Private Terms to highlight a Saturday, March 19 program of five stakes worth $450,000 in purses. It will be joined by the $100,000 Beyond the Wire for 3-year-old fillies and $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson for 4-year-olds and up, both going one mile, and two $75,000 sprints for Maryland-bred/sired horses – the six-furlong Not For Love for 4-year-olds and up and seven-furlong Conniver for older females.

Laurel Park is currently in the midst of its fall meet, which began Sept. 9 and runs through Dec. 31. The MJC has added a special program Monday, Dec. 27 to the live racing calendar.