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October 10, 2011

Laurel Park Celebrates 100 Years of Racing this Week

Posted in: Press Releases by Shawn Short on October 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm

LAUREL, MD. 10-10-11—Laurel Park will celebrate 100 years of live racing Saturday with a 100th Birthday Bash and Fall Fest from 12 to 6 p.m. The live card will begin at 1:10 p.m.

“Saturday should be a fantastic day,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “It is an opportunity for us to show our appreciation to the Laurel community for supporting us for 100 years.”

The centennial celebration will include a 100th birthday key chain giveaway to the first 3,000 in attendance. The afternoon features family entertainment, a health fair and music in a community village, on-track performances between races, a proclamation from Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, birthday cake for fans and drawings for prizes such as flat screen televisions, iPads and airline gift cards.

The giveaways began Monday with four drawings, including one where Andre Short won an opportunity to have lunch with legendary trainer King Leatherbury. There will also be multiple prize giveaways Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Laurel Park debuted on October 2, 1911 under the auspices of the Laurel Four Corners County Fair. The Anne Arundel County track quickly became an autumn fixture on the Maryland racing calendar.

Here are some of the highlights:

* Triple Crown winners Sir Barton, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Secretariat and Affirmed won races at Laurel Park during their Hall of Fame careers. * Classic winners Omar Khayyam (1917 Kentucky Derby), Hourless (1917 Belmont Stakes), Exterminator (1919 Kentucky Derby), High Echelon (1970 Belmont), Riva Ridge (1972 Derby & Belmont), Spectacular Bid (1979 Derby & Preakness Stakes), Bet Twice (1987 Belmont), Go and Go (1990 Belmont) and Barbaro (2006 Derby) also competed at the central Maryland track. * Seabiscuit prepped at Laurel Park for his famous match race with War Admiral. On October 15, 1938, two weeks before the Pimlico Special, Seabiscuit finished second in the Laurel Stakes, a race he had won the previous year. * Kelso, the only five-time Horse of the Year, won the 1964 Washington D.C. International in his fourth attempt, beating rival Gun Bow. Kelso finished second in his three previous tries in the International, all by less than a length. * Sandy Hawley became the first rider in history with 500 victories in a single-season when he guided Charlie Jr. to victory at Laurel Park on December 15, 1973. Hawley finished the year with 515 victories. * Chris McCarron surpassed Hawley with his 516th winner on December 17, 1974 aboard Oh My Love at Laurel Park. He completed the year with 546 victories. * Kent Desormeaux broke McCarron’s mark when he rode his 547th winner for the year, aboard Gilten, at Laurel Park on November 30, 1989. Desormeaux finished the year with 598 victories, a record that still stands. * The Maryland Million, an innovative program devised by broadcaster Jim McKay to promote the Maryland breeding industry, debuted at Laurel Park in 1986. The 26th running of the event took place here on October 1. * Edgar Prado became the fourth jockey to win 500 races in a single-season when he reached the wire first aboard Hardball on November 30, 1997 at Laurel Park. Prado ended the year with 536 victories. * Mario Pino became the 15th rider in North America to reach 6,000 career wins when he guided Pass Play to victory at Laurel Park on November 7, 2007.

FIRST-TIME STARTER WINS 5TH RACE AT ODDS OF 83-1

Gaby Little Girl upset a field of 10 fillies and mares in her debut at odds of 83-1. The daughter of Hennessey stalked the pace in the 5½ furlong test on the turf then circled the field with jockey Malcolm Franklin on the turn from home and held off fast closing Count On Hope and Lucky Holly for the maiden score.

Trained by Roy Peacock and owned by Terry Overmier, Gaby Little Girl paid $168.60.

During the current Laurel Park fall meeting, only 11 of the 49 betting favorites in grass races have visited the winners’ circle. The average win mutuel is $16.30.