Live Horse Racing to Remain at Laurel Park
Deal reached to ensure 2011 horse racing season at Laurel track.
Horse racing throughout the state will live to see another day after Maryland's thoroughbred racetracks and members of horsing the industry agreed on a deal that would keep live horse racing at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.
The Gazette reports that the agreement, which was brokered by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), will allow 146 days of racing in 2011, the same number that was scheduled for this year after the Maryland Jockey Club and its owners, MI Developments and Penn National Gaming, worked out an agreement with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (MTHA) and Maryland Horse Breeders Association (MHBA) at a Wednesday morning meeting in Annapolis with O'Malley.
Locally the decision will allow the Laurel Park winter stand to begin Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 with live racing taking place four days a week on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule (with holiday exceptions). The 49-day meet will end Saturday, March 26.
The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association was at odds with the Maryland Jockey Club over which days to allow racing. Before a last minute intervention from O'Malley, most assumed that the dispute would put an end to the $1 billion horse racing industry in the state.
"This is a good day for the entire industry," said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas in a statement. "I would like to personally thank Governor O'Malley and chief legislative officer Joe Bryce for their support during this process. This discussion provides a foundation for continuing efforts to create a long-term solution to restoring Maryland racing to prominence."