By T. D. Thornton
The Timonium race meet that got scrapped because of the pandemic this summer could to be back in action in 2021. The Maryland Racing Commission approved a 10-date slate for next year at its Oct. 22 meeting, with a new wrinkle to the schedule.
“One thing that is a little different here, they're also requesting, in addition to the seven days they normally would run during the state fair, [permission to operate Sept.] 10th, 11th and 12, which is a weekend after the fair is closed,” J. Michael Hopkins, the MRC's executive director, said prior to the unanimous vote. “It is the first time they have done that that I can recall.”
Hopkins added that Timonium has had clearance to race
10 dates in the past in conjunction with the Maryland State Fair. But in recent seasons the applicant has only scheduled seven programs, all while the fair is operational at the same property.
Hopkins said it was his belief there would be no overlap with Laurel Park, whose meet traditionally follows the fair's short season.
“They're having the discussions with the Maryland Jockey Club [which owns Laurel] where scheduling is concerned,” Hopkins said. “[The two racetracks] preliminarily are in agreement with all of this. Secondarily, the purpose of this [vote] is to get the dates approved, and if there are any adjustments going forward we can come back and revisit them.”
A full calendar of 2021 Thoroughbred dates was unanimously approved for Laurel, Pimlico Race Course, and Timonium on Thursday. But the specific dates of all the individual meets were not read into the record, and it was unclear whether they had even been assigned. Via email, TDN subsequently requested the full calendar from Hopkins, but that query did not yield a reply prior to deadline for this story.