Opening Day in Baltimore for the thoroughbred home team: Pimlico

April 03, 2013 | Gary Quill

Baltimore’s favorite baseball team kicks off their season at home on Friday April 5th against the Minnesota Twins, but there’s another Opening Day to celebrate in Baltimore this Thursday, April 4th. Live Maryland thoroughbred horse racing has come “home” to historic Pimlico Race Course, albeit for only 36 glorious racing days. Local horse racing enthusiasts view Opening Day at Pimlico as a barometer that Spring has officially arrived.

Drawing by Mel @dailyracefunies. To see more of Mel’s work, click here.

Over the next ten weeks, Pimlico will conduct live racing Thursday through Sunday (but no racing on the Sunday after Preakness, May 19th), headlined by the 138th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (Grade 1), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, on May 18th. The 36-day stand will conclude on Belmont  Day, June 8th. First post for 33 days of the meet will be 1:10pm with adjustments on Kentucky Derby Day (May 4th; 12:45pm), Black-Eyed Susan Day (May 17th; 12:15pm) and on Preakness Day (10:45am).

To entice fans to visit Old Hilltop on Opening Day and throughout the spring meet, the Maryland Jockey Club is offering plenty of promotions. Here are the ones over the next couple weeks …

Thursday, April 4 — Opening Day
Celebrate the return of live racing with free admission and  free live program.

Every Friday (April 5-June 7, excluding Black-Eyed Susan day) — Fan Fridays
Free admission, free parking and free live program.

Saturday, April 6 — Opening Saturday
Free Pimlico cap to the first 4,000 paid fans and over $200,000 in prize drawings.

Sunday, April 7 — Chasin’ for Children
Kids compete on ponies in five events between races.

Saturday, April 13 — Racing 101
An all-day fan education experience. Advance ticket purchase required.

Speaking of fan educational experiences, former jockey Frankie Lovato, Jr. is doing his part. Lovato is the founder / creator of who with his staff of Kayla Jarvinen and Brittlan Wall work tirelessly to help increase the fan base of thoroughbred horse racing. This year’s project is to provide 365 Days of Racing Terminology via videos on YouTube.

Using an alphabetic format, Frankie and his staff started on January 1, 2013 posting a video describing the term “Ace Deuce”. Their mission is to continue throughout 2013, posting a term each day.

Whether you are a grizzled vet like GQ or a horse racing novice, make these informative 2-3 minute videos part of your daily routine. You will be amazed at the amount of new cocktail party conversation ammo added to your arsenal.

For each day of this 36 day meet, I will post a blog offering my opinions and the Soup Of The Day with the cooperation of the Food Services Dept. at Pimlico, as I have done below. As an added item, a SHOW Parlay Play of the Day will be featured. I’ll start with a mythical $100 bankroll, using $20 of it to start the parlay. I figure the odds of sustaining a single SHOW parlay play for 36 consecutive racing days is slim. Therefore, we’ll have a reserve to tap into if/when a play loses.

A note for novices, when you bet to SHOW, it means your horse must finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Your payoff is the price posted under the SHOW (3rd) column. A parlay means whatever the return is on your wager; you bet that entire amount on the next bet (i.e. “let it ride”).

Recapping Laurel Park’s Closing Day 10-race card posted had 5 chalky winners (1 Top Selection in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $6.40 (1st race), $4.00 (2nd), $2.60 (4th), $3.80 (5th) and $4.80 (9th). The BEST BET of the Day went off 5-2 but could only manage 2nd behind the 1-5 (that’s correct, 1-5) betting favorite, but did return $3.20 to PLACE and $3.00 to SHOW while the LONGSHOT PICK also played bridesmaid returning $4.40 to PLACE and $2.60 to SHOW.

Selections for the Day 1 Pimlico Thursday, April 4th card are Page 2.

(Continued on Page 2…)