12/21/2016 11:56AM

Laurel has Christmas Eve racing all to itself


On Saturday, for the first time since 2012, there will be racing on Christmas Eve. Those wishing to make a wager or two before the holiday begins in earnest can play a Laurel Park card, which begins at noon Eastern.

Because Laurel is the only track open Christmas Eve, the track’s Saturday past performances will be included in all Friday editions of Daily Racing Form. Of course, they will also be available online.

There hasn’t been any racing on Christmas Eve the past three years. Parx was scheduled to race in 2013 but canceled due to poor track conditions.

In 2012, Parx raced and Hialeah had a Quarter Horse card. Hialeah was forced to cancel after its third race when the backup starting gate malfunctioned. Its regular gate had broken down in race 2.

In 2011, the last time Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday, Parx, Gulfstream Park, and Hialeah raced.

The Laurel Park fall meet concludes Dec. 31 when five stakes will be held. The four $100,000 open stakes are the Dave’s Friend at six furlongs; the Thirty Eight Go Go, a mile race for fillies and mares; and two seven-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds, the Marylander and the Gin Talking.

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The program also will include the $75,000 Jennings, a one-mile stakes for Maryland-bred or -sired runners.

With five days remaining in the season, Mary Eppler leads the trainer standings by six wins. The title would be the first for Eppler and only the second by a female trainer at a Maryland Jockey Club meet. Karen Patty was the leading trainer at the 1992 Pimlico fall meet.

Jevian Toledo is atop the rider standings by 16 wins. He won his first career title at the Laurel fall meet a year ago.