While the 10-day Maryland State Fair racing meet begins this afternoon at Timonium, the massive overhaul of the racing surfaces at Laurel Park remain on schedule, according to Maryland Jockey Club officials.

"We're hoping to have [the horsemen] back Oct. 1," said Chief Operating Officer Lou Raffetto Jr.

Trainers based at Laurel have been scattered at Pimlico, the Bowie Training Center and Timonium since the project began. The MJC, meantime, has addressed Laurel's rodent infestation problem, patched stalls and done other barn work, Raffetto said.

Racing originally was scheduled to resume at Laurel on Oct. 6, but that has been pushed back to Oct. 15, shifting the Maryland Million on Oct. 9 to Pimlico.

Pimlico ended a 16-day mini meet yesterday with 25-year-old apprentice rider Chip Van Hassel sharing the riding title with jockey Erick Rodriguez at 17 victories each. Dale Capuano captured his ninth straight Pimlico meet training title with six wins.

Timonium will host eight days of live racing and 10 days of full-card simulcasting through Sept. 6. The banked five-eighths of a mile oval offers a stark contrast to the racing conducted throughout the year at the Pimlico and Laurel Park mile tracks.

There will be no live racing on Monday and Tuesday at Timonium, but post time on other days is 1:10 p.m. Meet highlights will include the $50,000 Alma North Handicap and $50,000 Taking Risks Stakes on Labor Day weekend.

-- John Scheinman