LAUREL PARK DELAYS RESUMPTION OF RACING
Laurel Park will remain dark until at least Sunday, Jan. 16, the Maryland Jockey Club told horsemen Tuesday.
That means the track will not race its scheduled Friday and Saturday cards this week; they will be the fifth and sixth consecutive racing days the track has missed this month.
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The new cancellations are “[d]ue to lack of training opportunities and additional maintenance work to be completed,” the track said in a text message to horsemen.
“[R]esumption of live racing will be delayed slightly until Sunday, Jan 16th at the earliest,” the text said.
Laurel Park raced its January 1 and January 2 cards, but Maryland was hit with heavy snow and then freezing temperatures in the early part of last week. That led to restricted training last week and the cancellation of this past weekend’s scheduled racing cards.
Maryland Jockey Club acting president Mike Rogers told horsemen at a Saturday meeting that the company had been working gradually to winterize the track by increasing the amount of coarse sand in the cushion but that the process had not been far enough along to withstand the harsh weather that arrived Jan. 3.
The company is now working to accelerate that process, he said.
The MJC convened a group of experts Jan. 10 to assess the progress of the effort and had held out hope that normal training and racing might resume this week. But it announced Monday evening that training at Laurel Jan. 11 would be galloping only, no works, and now it has spiked two more days of racing.
This latest shutdown is the third extended shutdown at Laurel Park in recent months because of the dirt track surface. The track was closed in April for an extensive renovation of the track surface, not reopening for racing until after the Timonium meet concluded on Labor Day.
The track was shut down again in late November after a cluster of eight catastrophic breakdowns in a 22-day period. It reopened in mid-December only to shut down again about three weeks later.