The Laurel Park summer race meet is a go, starting Saturday.
A 28-date schedule was approved by a unanimous teleconference vote of the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) at its Thursday meeting.
After an initial Saturday-through-Monday, three-date opening spanning May 30-June 1, Fridays and Saturdays will be the primary live racing dates through Aug. 22 (a Monday, June 8, program is also scheduled, according to the Laurel calendar).
Alan Rifkin, an attorney for the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC), which owns Laurel, explained to the commission the rationale behind scaling back to just two days of racing per week.
“Because the casinos are still closed at the moment, the purse accounts have to be considered in determining the number of race days and when [they are],” Rifkin said. “We want to take it slowly at first to see what [funds] we have and how to best proceed.”
The race meet will be conducted without spectators, at least so long as a state executive order remains in place barring crowd gatherings as part of COVID-19 health precautions.
Referencing the Oct. 3 GI Preakness S., Sal Sinatra, the MJC’s president, told the commission that “hopefully by October we can have some fans at the races.”