- 25 Nov
Remember not so long ago when racetracks in surrounding states were expanding their schedules and increasing their purses while Maryland tracks were cutting dates and struggling to compete for horses as its purse structure stagnated?
Maryland trainer Tim Keefe does. He looks around now and sees Maryland as perhaps the only racetrack in the country that isn’t pulling back as the Maryland Jockey Club works its plan toward restoring year-round racing to the state.
“I think we are the only place in the country that’s expanding,” says Keefe, president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “For so long, we’ve always seemed to have been fighting for more dates. Now, in 2016, we have 15 more days. That’s significant because it shows we are moving in the right direction. The Stronach Group is fully committed.”
Tim Ritvo, the Stronach Groups’ chief operating officer, said he sees forward progress continuing toward the goal.
“We plan to keep going,” he says. “We want 200 days of racing . . . We’re looking to host a Breeders’ Cup one day and bring back the D.C. International. We think it is all viable if [the business] is run properly.”
The winter meet at Laurel Park will run Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, take a three-week break and then return to run March 11 through May 8.