Pimlico Race Track was awarded the state's 1981 summer dates today when the Maryland Racing Commission decided against giving the 48 days to Laurel.
Laurel was denied the May 26-July 20 dates because its recent renovations, estimated at $1 million, did not include clubhouse air conditioning.
Commission Chairman Robert Banning said, "Either we make this decision or the legislature will make a change permanently. This way, should Laurel comply with the air condition edict we can return the 48 days at a later date." c
Laurel, however, was granted a first-race exacta and a raise in the purse, from $200,000 to $250,000, for the Nov. 8 Washington, D.C. International, which currently lists a field of seven. Three-year-olds Ben Fab from Canada and Cairn Rouge from Ireland and 4-year-old Great Neck from the United States joined the field today.
Previously it was announced that John Henry and Just A. Game II from the U.S.; Japan's Haski Kurantsu and Argument, of France, will run in the race.
The 309 days of flat racing for 1981 will begin at Bowie Jan.1 and continue there through March 14. Pimlico will hold its spring-summer session March 16 through July 20. That includes the third Saturday in May, reserved for the Preakness Stakes.
Maryland's only half-mile track, Timonium, will host bettors with a 42-day meeting July 21 through Sept. 7.
Bowie will open with the 36-day Marlboro fall meet, Sept. 8 through Oct. 19. Racing will conclude for the year at Laurel, Oct. 20 through Dec. 31.
The Fair Hill Hunt Meeting, the only steeplechase race to offer legalized wagering in the state, was awarded three days, May 25 and 30 and Sept 26.