The 11 Best Days of Summer…NOT!

August 27, 2009 | Gary Quill

Friday August 28th is Opening Day of the annual Maryland State Fair at the Fair Grounds in Timonium which concludes on Labor Day, Monday September 7th. Accenting the Fair offerings will be Live thoroughbred horse racing ONLY on seven (7) of those eleven (11) days. Is the state of Maryland thoroughbred horse racing so pathetic that we cannot fill racing cards for eleven (11) consecutive days?! What a joke! 


Live racing will be held beginning Friday, August 28th through Sunday, August 30th and Friday, September 4th through Monday, September 7th. Post Time is 1 PM each day.  Simulcast racing (from Delaware, Calder, Saratoga and Meadowlands) will take place every day except Tuesday, September 1st. There will be no live racing Monday, August 31st through Thursday, September 3rd. Hmmm, simulcast racing from Delaware Park available at Timonium. Too bad the Sports Betting action which starts on September 1st in Delaware cannot be available via simulcasting as well (tongue in cheek).


The 5/8th mile Timonium oval overlooking scenic (?) York Road, will feature two stakes races over the Labor Day weekend; the $50,000 Alma North for fillies and mares on Saturday and the $50,000 Taking Risks on Monday. Both races are restricted to Maryland-breds (not too many of them around), and each race is contested at 6-1/2 furlongs.


Good luck trying to handicap these races which often feature runners who haven’t seen the track since Joe Flacco was QB at Delaware…the state where horse racing, slots and sports betting flourishes. Just look at the Friday card. That is, IF The Sun Sports section bothers to list the card (which I doubt). In the 9th race, #9 – Deac is a 6 year old maiden whose last race took place on March 29, 2007! Not to say he wouldn’t be ready to win this race, but that fact combined with his latest 4 furlong workout in a pedestrian 54 seconds flat on August 23rd at Bowie, would suggest we look elsewhere for the winner of the 9th on Friday.


Trying to handicap races at “The Big T” is like fishing with a shot gun. Therefore, I suggest you pick a day, go enjoy the Fair with your family and/or friends, and play a couple races, making your selections based on the horses’ name, color of the jockey silks or your favorite number. For what it is worth, here are my selections for August 28th.


Best Bet: Vehement   (#3 – 1st race; M/L 3-1) finished 2nd in his only start in the Timonium “Bull Ring” as jockey/trainer combo is 2 for 6 in 2009.   


Longshot: Silver Bay  (#4 – 9th race; M/L 10-1) is a 7 year old maiden (oh brother!) making his 11th lifetime start. Jockey Callixto Juarez must be as old as me, but knows how to handle to tight Timonium turns. If this one wins, I should get a medal.


SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: Seeking Options   (#7 – 8th race; M/L 4-1) little known trainer Brenda Godfrey has a small stable of runner but is 3 of 8 in 2009 with them. Considering this race has heavy-hitting trainers like Scott Lake, Dale Capuano, Michael Trombetta and King T. Leatherbury, this runner might get overlooked. Drop $20 her to SHOW and buy a beer with your profit.


On the bright side, at least the horse racing at our state fair does not feature Mule racing (see CA County Fairs).


The Fair can be accessed by taking Interstate-695 to Interstate-83 North and exiting at either Timonium Road or Padonia Road. The track can also be reached by light rail from either downtown Baltimore or from Hunt Valley.


Enjoy 11, er uh, 7 days of horse racing at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium.