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By HRI Staff—-Live racing returns to Laurel Park this Friday. The meet offers 40 Stakes Worth $4.27 Million. Six of Nine Races Carded on World-Class Turf Course Sept. 6.

The G3 De Francis Dash, G3 BWI Turf Cup Highlight Sept. 21 Card and Super Saturdays, Maryland Million, Clubhouse Fest Among Meet Highlights

Launched by a September to Remember Stakes Festival featuring back-to-back Super Saturdays serving up 14 stakes worth $1.8 million in purses topped by the Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) and Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3).

live racing returns to Laurel Park for its calendar year-ending fall meet starting Friday, Sept. 6. The 61-day fall stand will conclude on Sunday, Dee.29.

Racing will be conducted Friday through Sunday in September and December and Thursday through Sunday in October and November.

There will be no racing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and special holiday programs Monday, Oct. 14 and Nov. 11 as well as Thursday, Nov. 28 and Dec. 26.

Post time will be 1:10 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 20 before reverting to a 12:35 p.m. first post Thursday, Oct. 24 for the remainder of the meet.

Overall, Laurel’s fall meet offers 40 stakes worth $4.27 million in purses including the 34th Jim McKay Maryland Million program Saturday, Oct. 19 of 11 stakes worth $1.07 million.

“The fall meet at Laurel is always one of the highlights on the Maryland racing calendar,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. “Our stakes schedule always attracts some of the country’s top horsemen and horses.”

The 28th running of the $250,000 De Francis Dash for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs and $200,000 BWI Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at one mile highlight Part I of the September to Remember Stakes Festival on a Saturday, Sept. 21 card of eight stakes worth $1.2 million.

Named for the late president and chairman of both Laurel and Pimlico Race Course, the De Francis’ roster of past winners includes 2013 Hall of Famer Housebuster and fellow sprint champions Cherokee Run, Smoke Glacken, Thor’s Echo and Benny the Bull.

 The BWI Turf Cup, renamed in 2017, has been won by horses such as champion English Channel and Grade 1 winners Showing Up, Paddy O’Prado, Turbo Compressor and Mr Speaker.

Sept. 21 will showcase the $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Laurel Futurity and $200,000 Selima for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; $150,000 Bald Eagle Derby presented by B&B Commercial Interiors for 3-year-olds at 1 ½ miles; $100,000 Laurel Dash presented by Fidelity First and Blackwell Real Estate and $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash, each at 5 ½ furlongs.

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            On Saturday, Sept. 28, the $150,000 All Along for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the grass tops a September to Remember Stakes Festival Part II program of six stakes worth $600,000 in purses that includes the $100,000 Japan Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles; $100,000 Howard County and $100,000 Anne Arundel County, turf sprints for juveniles going 5 ½ furlongs; and $75,000 Challedon and $75,000 Shine Again, seven-furlong main track sprints for non-winners of a sweepstakes. Juveniles will be in the spotlight Saturday, Nov. 16 with the $100,000 Smart Halo for fillies and $100,000 James F. Lewis III, each going six furlongs. Four $100,000 stakes are on tap Saturday, Nov. 30 – the seven-furlong City of Laurel and Safely Kept for 3-year-olds, the latter for fillies; 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up; and Thirty Eight Go Go for females 3 and older at about 1 1/16 miles.

Maryland-bred/sired horses get their day Saturday, Dec. 7 with the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity and $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at seven furlongs, the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 Politely for fillies and mares 3 and older, both at six furlongs.

 The final Super Saturday of 2019 comes Dec. 28 with a quintet of $100,000 stakes – the Dave’s Friend for 3-year-olds and up and Willa On the Move for females 3 and older at six furlongs, 1 1/8-mile Native Dancer for 3-year-olds and up, and Heft for 2-year-olds and Gin Talking for 2-year-old fillies, each at seven furlongs.

The opening day card also marks the return of the $1 Stronach 5, a $1 minimum multi-race wager unveiled at the start of last year’s fall meet.

Offering an industry-low 12 percent takeout and a guaranteed pool of $100,000, the Stronach 5 will feature races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park and Golden Gate Fields, starting with Laurel’s Race 8. The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host for the Stronach 5.

 Opening Saturday, Sept. 7, will have 10 races highlighted by a $42,000 entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up scheduled for one mile over the Bowl Game turf course in Race 4, one of six grass races that attracted a total of 64 entries, an average of 10.7 horses per race.

Jockey Julio Correa, the nation’s leading apprentice rider, is named in four races Friday and seven races Saturday in his attempt to follow up on a Laurel summer meet where he defeated two-time Maryland champion Trevor McCarthy by a 35-30 margin.

Claudio Gonzalez, Maryland’s leading trainer the past two years, goes after his eighth title in nine Laurel Park meets and 11th overall, having captured the summer stand over Mike Trombetta, 24-14. Gonzalez entered Nico Bree N Teej in Friday’s eighth race and has a pair of maidens, Olive’s Bumpa and Imagine Winning, entered on Saturday.

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