The Maryland Racing Commission May 28 approved the parameters of the Laurel Park summer meet, effectively allowing the track to reopen for live racing May 30 with only essential personnel permitted on the grounds.
Laurel will offer three racing programs its first week back—Saturday, Sunday and Monday (May 30-June 1)—and follow with three days of racing the following weekend. It's expected racing will be held twice a week thereafter on Fridays and Saturdays until further notice. Entries for the first threee days have already been drawn.
The Maryland Jockey Club submitted a request for 28 racing days for the Laurel summer meet. It was noted the facility will be closed to the public pending changes in state limits on the number of people allowed to attend events because of COVID-19.
The MJC, in conjunction with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, The Stronach Group and MedStar Health, prepared a lengthy document outlining protocols and procedures necessary for COVID-19 mitigation when live racing commences at Laurel and presented it to state officials. Before racing was suspended in mid-March, Laurel raced three days with no patrons permitted under the governor’s executive order.
Many of the protocols and best practices are already in place for training in the stable areas at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course. The MJC said it contemplates “live racing only at Laurel Park for the duration of COVID-19 restrictions in order to limit the travel of personnel, horsemen and horses.”
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