Turf Racing Wraps Up For The Year, Nearly Twenty-Five New Trainers On-Site To Help Fill Races

Turf Racing Wraps Up For The Year, Nearly Twenty-Five New Trainers On-Site To Help Fill Races

LAUREL. MD. 11-29-11---Laurel Park officials decided today not to use the turf course for the remainder of the year. Heavy rains in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. region forced races off the grass four times last week. One turf race had been scheduled for Wednesday’s card.

One hundred seventeen turf races were conducted at Laurel this fall with an average win payout of nearly $14.40. Only thirty-two betting favorites won races. The average field size was 9.8 runners per race.

The racing office will counter losing turf racing with the arrival of new horses stabled at Laurel Park and the Bowie Training Center. Nearly twenty-five conditioners are wintering in the state, including top outfits Scott Lake and Jamie Ness as well as longtime New England-based John Rigattieri and Charles Assimakopoulos, who have been coming south for the winter for years.

“The majority of our horses are coming to Laurel Park,” said Tom Iannotti, who has won 13 races in Maryland this year from his Delaware Park base. “We have a nice blend of horses for different types of conditions and different levels within those conditions as well as horses who can run in open company and even restricted stakes.”

The Maryland Jockey Club also announced Tuesday that for the final two weeks of the fall meeting (Tuesday, December 6 through Saturday, December 17), admission will be free with complimentary general parking.


With 14 live racing days remaining in the Laurel Park fall meeting, the race for the top rider appears to be going down to the wire. Sheldon Russell, who won the Laurel winter and Pimlico Race Course spring titles, and Julian Pimentel are tied atop the standings with 43 winners. Horacio Karamanos is one back.

Dane Kobiskie has a four-win lead over Jamie Ness in the trainer standings. The former rider has won 27 races from 78 starters. Ness has been nearly as impressive with 23 victories from 77 starters.

Russell and Kobiskie have all but wrapped up year-round honors at the major Maryland tracks. Russell has 114 first place finishes, 21 more than Pimentel, while Kobiskie has saddled 56 winners, 23 ahead of Dale Capuano and Chris Grove.

Grove won three races Tuesday afternoon, scoring with Southern Sweetie ($16.8-second), Brother Bird ($8.80-fourth) and Furman Bisher ($5.80-ninth).