Pimlico Race Course will open the gates today for its 11th meeting, 108 days of thoroughbred competion to be highlighted in May by the 106th Preakness Stakes second jewel of the Triple Crown.
The opening-day feature will be a Preakenss prep, the $30,000-added Hirsch Jacobs Stakes at six furlongs. Among the entrants are Classic Go Go, winner of seven straight, and Century Prince, second to the talented Cure The Blues at Laurel.
Among the new features at Old Hilltop will be the "Winner's Lounge" on the second floor of the grandstand. The facility is designed for the $2 bettor, featuring 21 closed-circuit television sets, two bars and betting windows.
Eclipse Award-winning trainer Bud Delp will have 35 horses at Pimlico this spring-summer session. Delp, leader of the Pimlico trainers seven times, recently returned from a successful stay at the Fair Grounds track in New Orleans. Accompanying Delp will be stable rider Ron Franklin.
Ron Alfano, currently the country's leading trainer in number of victories and ninth in the money-won column, will attempt to win his first major title at Pimlico. Other trainers moving to Pimlico include King T. Leatherbury, Richard Dutrow, Hubert (Sonny) Hine and Kenneth Field.
Another new feature will be an exacta for the ninth race. The move is designed to attract bettors who do not wish to buck the 25 percent takeout on the triple. The exactas are taxed at 19 percent.
A request has been made to a special state committee for permission to conduct wagering at Pimlico on this year's Kentucky Derby.
Post time at Pimlico is 1 p.m.