Access for owners, other licensees loosened at Laurel Park

With the further loosening of COVID-19 restrictions in most Maryland counties and cities at 5 p.m. June 19, the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have announced a few policy changes at Laurel Park.

Effective Saturday, June 20, licensed owners will be allowed to access the Laurel barn area, and all Maryland Racing Commission licensees will be granted access to the track apron on live racing days. For the past two weeks, only owners with horses entered to race were permitted to attend.

As is the case now, temperatures will be checked at the stable gate and anyone seeking access must display an MRC license. Licensees who wish to view the racing program on the apron will continue to use the entrance on the far end of the grandstand, where security will take temperatures and check MRC badges.

MJC President Sal Sinatra said masks and social distancing will be required for those on the apron. The paddock will remain limited to trainers and their staff and grandstand access will not be permitted.

An executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan gave casinos and off-track betting facilities permission to reopen late afternoon June 19, which allows for pari-mutuel wagering to resume at many facilities in Maryland June 20.

The following off-track betting outlets will offer pari-mutuel betting beginning Saturday: Maryland State Fair at Timonium, Boonsboro Event Center, Long Shot’s Sports Bar in Frederick, Greenmount Station in Hampstead and Riverboat on the Potomac near Colonial Beach, Va. In addition, Hollywood Casino Perryville and Casino at Ocean Downs, both of which offer pari-mutuel wagering, will be open.

Laurel, Pimlico Race Course and Rosecroft Raceway will remain closed for now, as will two casinos that offer pari-mutuel wagering: Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and MGM National Harbor.

Sinatra said that on June 15 he provided Hogan’s office a plan and protocols for the reopening of Laurel to patrons, and that the MJC has ordered thermal cameras similar to those used at casinos for body-temperature scanning.

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