Turf Season Begins Saturday Afternoon

Turf Season Begins Saturday Afternoon

LAUREL, MD. 03-14-12---In a sure sign that spring has arrived, Saturday afternoon’s card at Laurel Park will include the first two turf races of the year, exactly one week before the end of the winter meeting.

“I was very excited when my turf man (Robbie Mitten) came to into the office last week and said it was possible for us to run on the grass during the final week of the meet,” Maryland Jockey Club Racing Secretary Georganne Hale said. “We had been telling trainers it was not going to happen until we got to Pimlico for the spring meet but we were able to give some advance notice on the overnight and got two full fields.”

The fifth race on the card features 10 fillies looking for their first career victories in a $20,000, 1-1/16 mile test conducted on the Fort Marcy turf course (Lane 6).

Two races later on the Kelso turf course (Lane 3), a dozen fillies and mares are entered in a $25,000 claimer at 1-1/16 miles.

“Robbie said the good weather is responsible for the early start and he is anxious to be the first track in the northern East Coast to run on the grass,” added Hale. “He thinks the earliest we have been on the course was March 22, so having the turf on March 17 is terrific news.”

The 10-race will be headlined by the $100,000 Private Terms Stakes for 3-year-olds. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.



Alberto Delgado returned from a riding suspension with a victory aboard Holiday Dreaming ($5.20) in Wednesday’s second race, his first mount since February 11. The Maryland Racing Commission suspended Delgado thirty calendar days for his ride aboard My Sweet Nenana at Laurel Park on February 1.

The 47-year-old has been a regular rider in the Maryland colony since 1982, the year he earned an Eclipse Award as Outstanding Apprentice. Delgado, who has 2,868 career victories (175th on the all-time list), is best known forguiding Oliver’s Twist to a second place finish in the 1995 Preakness Stakes (G1) for trainer Bill Boniface.

He ranks 12th in the current Laurel Park winter standings with 13 winners from 59mounts. He is named to ride two races on both Thursday and Friday and one Saturday.