Racing returns to Laurel for 33-day summer meet


Following a 12-day break after the Preakness meet at Pimlico, Maryland racing will resume Friday at Laurel Park with a summer stand that will run through Aug. 20.

The 33-day meet has a $1.67 million stakes schedule comprised of 21 races, 16 of which are evenly split between events for Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired runners and Virginia-bred or Virginia-sired horses. The richest race of the season is the $100,000 Stormy Blues, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies.

Racing will be held Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern but will be moved up to 12:35 p.m. this Saturday for Belmont Stakes Day.

The vast Laurel turf course, which can accommodate six different lanes, has not been used since the winter-spring meet ended May 7. It figures to get a good workout over the next 2 1/2 months before racing moves to the Timonium fair for a seven-day meet from Aug. 24 to Sept. 4.

With Trevor McCarthy sidelined until the fall with a shoulder injury, the jockeys’ race is wide open. Horacio Karamanos, who is nearing the 2,000th winner of his career, Feargal Lynch, and Kevin Gomez tied for leading rider at the 12-day Pimlico meet. They will be joined by Jevian Toledo, Steve Hamilton, whose business continues to improve, and a handful of others who have good backing, including Hall of Famer Edgar Prado.

Trainers Kieron Magee, Linda Rice, and Claudio Gonzalez all figure to have success at the meet. Magee and Rice tied for leading trainer at the Laurel winter-spring meet. At Pimlico, Magee and Graham Motion tied atop the standings with six wins each, one more than Mary Eppler and Mike Trombetta.

The opening-day 10-race card is topped by a first-level allowance for Maryland-breds. Six of the races are on grass.