TIMONIUM, MD., NOV. 14 -- Laurel and Pimlico race courses will slightly alter their 1991 schedules while basically keeping the same number of dates.
The Maryland Racing Commission today approved the schedules, most notable in that Pimlico's summer session will not be interrupted by the short Timonium meet. Instead, Pimlico's spring meet will be longer, March 14 through July 3, which means Laurel will regain live racing July 4 after a 3 1/2-month layoff.
"We thought that returning to Laurel on July 4 would be an exciting thing," said Joe De Francis, president of the two tracks. "It's something we've never done before."
Laurel's summer meet would end Aug. 23, followed by 10 days at Timonium. Pimlico would run Sept. 5 through Oct. 9, and Laurel would close out the year.
The number of dates assigned each track would stay about the same: 162 for Laurel, 102 for Pimlico. By law, the tracks could operate up to 32 additional days, with the ceiling at 296.
Although Laurel will have racing Jan. 1 through March 13 next year, the one-month period beginning Feb. 13 will be designated the Pimlico-at-Laurel meeting to give employees an equal number of working days at each facility.
Next year's schedules for Rosecroft Raceway, Delmarva Downs and Timonium were approved last month.
Also today, the commission agreed to increase the cost of virtually all licenses issued by state thoroughbred and standardbred tracks. Executive Director Ken Schertle said license costs would be brought in line with those of other states after going unchanged for 25 years. Most will be raised 100 to 150 percent.
Owner and trainer renewals, for instance, will increase from $10 to $25, as will licenses for jockeys, their agents, drivers and veterinarians.
In addition, the commission gave Rosecroft approval to conduct triple wagering on each race Wednesday until the meet concludes next month. The track has all-triple programs on Friday as well.
Laurel: Jan. 1-March 13; July 4-Aug. 23; Oct. 10-Dec. 31
Pimlico: March 14-July 3; Sept. 5-Oct. 9.
Timonium: Aug. 24-Sept. 4.
Marlboro: Two dates to be announced.
Rosecroft: Jan. 11-Sept. 14; Oct. 4-Dec. 21.
Delmarva: May 24-Sept. 2.
Fair Hill: May 27, Sept. 28, Oct. 19.