Slots Revenue Helps Laurel Park Fall Meet Schedule Increase Number Of Stakes Races And Richer Purses

July 17, 2012 | Gary Quill

LAUREL, MD. 07-17-12—The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) unveiled the 2012 Laurel Park fall schedule on Tuesday after reaching agreement with both the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The schedule was approved by the Maryland Racing Commission hours earlier at its monthly meeting.

After a 15-week break, which will include seven (7) live days of racing at Timonium during the State Fair in late August and early September, live racing will resume at the major tracks two days after Labor Day. Racing will take place four (4) days a week through the end of the year on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, holidays excluded.

The 69-day fall meeting, which begins Wednesday, Sept. 5 and concludes Monday, Dec. 31, includes 32 stakes races, 5 more than a year ago. The average daily purse will be increased from $210,000 to $240,000, thanks to revenue from slot machines in the state. Like the 60’s cartoon character Mighty Mouse, “revenue from slots” has (finally) come to save the day. In the cartoon below, the cats represent Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania terrorizing and threatening to (financially) devour the MJC, Maryland horsemen, owners, breeders and track employees. Hopefully, it will only get better when a state special session approves the expansion of gaming in the state, in order to keep pace with surrounding states that already offer table games.

“It is important to have stakes races bolster our Saturday cards,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “To build our business from a handle standpoint, races need to be more attractive to simulcast players. We are in the process of finalizing the promotional schedule for the fall, which we expect will bring more fans into the building.”

Headlining the stand will be the 27th running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions on Saturday, Oct. 6 and the return of the Fall Festival of Racing three weeks later. That card will feature five stakes races on the turf as well as the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

Laurel Park Fall Meeting Dates:

• September 5-6-7-8
• September 12-13-14-15
• September 19-20-21-22
• September 26-27-28-29

• October 3-4-5-6
• October 8-11-12-13
• October 17-18-19-20
• October 24-25-26-27

• October 31-November 1-2-3
• November 7-8-9-10
• November 14-15-16-17
• November 21-22-23-24
• November 28-29-30-December 1

• December 5-6-7-8
• December 12-13-14-15
• December 19-20-21-22
• December 26-27-28-29
• December 31