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Charles Town trims its October schedule

September 30, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

Charles Town Races & Slots will feature an abbreviated live thoroughbred racing schedule in October.

"We'll run Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for most of October, trimming the Wednesday card from the schedule," Charles Town racing secretary Doug Lamp said. "The only possible change in that schedule will be the week of Oct. 21, when we shut down for track maintenance. If all goes well, we should be able to resume live racing on that Thursday (Oct. 24)."

Lamp said the October schedule had nothing to do with shortage of horses.

"Actually, we have enough horses and entries have picked up some over the last few weeks," Lamp said. "We'll have an occasional bad day when entries are light but, comparatively speaking, we are doing better than most racetracks in the country. I see a lot of six- and seven-horse fields at other racetracks."

Lamp said no final decision has been made regarding the November and December live thoroughbred racing schedules.

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MEC: Future is bright

Magna Entertainment Corporation has exercised its option to purchase the remaining interest in the Maryland Jockey Club - thereby acquiring full ownership of Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park.

Under the terms of an option agreement put in place in 2002, MEC will pay the De Francis Entities approximately $18.3 million plus interest.

"While thoroughbred racing in Maryland is currently facing many difficult obstacles, we remain optimistic that horse racing in the state can have a bright future," said Frank Stronach, chairman and interim CEO of MEC.

Joe De Francis and Karin De Francis have long been in charge of the Maryland Jockey Club. Karin will soon be leaving MJC and Joe De Francis will remain a director of MEC.

Pony tales

Hesa Big Star and Chasin Tiger set track records Thursday at Laurel Park.

Hesa Big Star won the $38,000 optional/allowance test on the turf, carrying jockey Horacio Karamanos to victory in 1:01.20 for the 5 1/2-furlong distance.

The course record for 6 furlongs on the grass was set earlier in the afternoon by Chasin Tiger, who completed that distance in 1:07.91.

· The West Virginia Breeders Classic at Charles Town is set for Oct. 20.

· The 22nd Maryland Million, a stakes program for Maryland-sired thoroughbred horses, will be held on Oct. 13 at Laurel Park.

The lineup: $30,000 Sprint Starter Handicap at 6 furlongs; $50,000 Distaff Starter Handicap at 1 mile; $50,000 Starter Handicap at 1 1/8 miles; $100,000 Turf Sprint at 5 1/2 furlongs; $150,000 Lassie at 7 furlongs; $150,000 Nursery at 7 furlongs; $150,000 Oaks at 1 mile; $150,000 Distaff at 7 furlongs; $150,000 Sprint at 6 furlongs; $200,000 Ladies at 1 1/8 miles; $200,000 Turf at 1 1/8 miles; and the $300,000 Classic at 1 3/16 miles.

· The 24th Breeders' Cup, consisting of 11 races and $23 million in purses and awards, for the first time will be contested over two days at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

With the addition of three races on Oct. 26 - each worth $1 million - the event has expanded to a two-day format, culminating on Oct. 27 with the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge.

For information, call 732-571-5582.

· Construction of Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville, Pa., continues and opening day is projected for early 2008.

Dec. 21 is targeted as the last live racing day for 2007.

Assuming no changes in the current construction schedule, live racing will resume on Feb. 5, 2008, in the new facility.

Larry Yanos is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at larryy@herald-mail.com

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