The camera panned the apron along the front stretch at Laurel Park Race Track Saturday, Oct. 17, showing a scene more familiar in old 1911 and 1940 photographs than in modern-day horse racing. But there, on the infield’s big screen was pictured a massive crowd, from one end of the stretch to the other, enjoying the sunshine and the racing – and it wasn’t a Triple Crown race, either.
The excitement and turnout coincided with the Maryland Jockey Club’s official unveiling of $14 million in improvements, $7 million of them in the clubhouse and grandstand, at Laurel during the 30th annual Jim McKay Maryland Million Day.
“It was great,” said Tim Keefe, president of the MTHA. “I’ve watched the process, going to meetings there every Tuesday. I knew what was coming. I’ve seen the slow progress through all the remodeling. But to see it all finished, all at once, it had a big effect. It was impressive.”
Maryland Million Day celebrates and honors Maryland racing – its owners, breeders, trainers and its horses – and it turned out to be its best day ever. Attendance was up 5.5 percent to 19,119; the betting handle was up 37 percent, more than $1 million, to $3.8 million.
“I heard from all the horsemen about how much they appreciated what we’ve been doing with the renovations,” track vice president and general manager Sal Sinatra said. “It’s a reflection on all of us. We all shared in a wonderful day.”
Read more ...