Maryland’s Laurel Park Ownership Says Track In Good Standing

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on April 24, 2023
horse fatalities at Maryland Horse Racing Track Laurel Park

A track inspection at Laurel Park is underway after two horses were euthanized at the Maryland horse racing track.

Tim Keefe, president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said a third-party analyst would inspect the track today. If no additional safety measures are necessary, Keefe told the Baltimore Sun racing could start back up as soon as Friday.

Fatal horse injuries lead to track inspection

The inspection comes after Laurel Park officials suspended racing after two horses, Golden Pegasus and Bigmancan, suffered fatal injuries. Laurel Park also canceled all upcoming races due to concerns over the track’s safety.

Speaking with 11 News, Keefe said:

“We’re going to continue to monitor training in the mornings. There’s no live racing scheduled through Thursday of this week, s o we’ll get this individual in and get this analysis and see how quickly he can get things turned around.”

The Maryland Racing Commission will meet Tuesday to hear the results of John Passero’s inspection. Passero is a former track superintendent that Lauren Park hired to do the inspection. 

Ownership says Maryland horse racing track is in good standing

According to track ownership, 1/ST Racing, recent tests of Laurel’s racing surface show it is within industry norms for safety. 

In a statement, the Maryland Jockey Club said:

“The results of these tests were all within industry norms. Based on these tests and their professional knowledge, our track experts have advised that there are no issues with the track and that it is safe to race and train.”

However, members of the horsemen’s association said the condition of the dirt surface poses “a serious threat” to the safety of riders and horses. 

The temporary shutdown of Laurel Park comes as state lawmakers work to pass Senate Bill 720. The bill would establish a new governing body to oversee Maryland horse racing. 

As redevelopment costs increase, track upgrade plans at both racecourses, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Coursehave fallen to the side. 

Additionally, some experts speculate that if SB 720 does not pass, only one of the two Maryland racetracks can survive. Many believe the primary focus has shifted to saving Pimlico, home of the Preakness Stakes.

Photo by Terrance Williams / AP Photo; illustrated by Playin USA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for Playin USA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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