03/09/2016 12:36PM

Laurel: Live racing resumes Friday

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Trevor McCarthy has ridden 31 winners so far this season in Maryland.

Racing returns to Maryland following a 3 1/2-week hiatus on Friday and will continue at the Maryland Jockey Club tracks of Laurel Park and Pimlico for the remainder of the year, excluding an 18-day break in late August and early September for the Maryland State Fair meet at Timonium.

Laurel, which opens Friday, will continue through Mother’s Day, May 8, the day after the Kentucky Derby. Pimlico will open the following Thursday, host the May 21 Preakness, and race through June 26. Laurel will then run the rest of the year, excluding the seven-day Timonium session.

Not counting holidays, racing will be held Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at Laurel and Timonium. Thursdays will be added at Pimlico.

Much of the racing at Laurel will take place on its 142-foot-wide turf course, which can accommodate six different temporary rail positions. The first turf race of the season is scheduled for April 1, but Sal Sinatra, general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, said that could be moved up.

“We are going to fertilize the turf course Thursday,” he said. “Depending on the weather, we could write some races earlier if the course is ready.”

The Laurel turf has not been used in April in either of the last two years.

The stakes series for 3-year-olds picks up Saturday with the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms Stakes and the Caesar’s Wish, a one-turn mile for fillies. Those races lead to the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio and the 1 1/16-mile Weber City Miss on April 9.

Although the Tesio and Weber City Miss only offer purses of $100,000, they take on added significance this year because they are Win and You’re In races for the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan, respectively, with the winners earning fees-paid berths in those races. The Private Terms on Saturday is expected to rematch the one-two finishers from the Feb. 15 Miracle Wood, Marengo Road and Charmed Victory, both of whom have a lot of upside.

The Laurel meet began Jan. 1, and Trevor McCarthy leads the jockey standings with 31 wins, three more than Victor Carrasco.

Among trainers, Claudio Gonzalez leads the pack with 15 wins, two more than Kieron Magee. Jamie Ness and Mike Trombetta are tied for third with 12 wins each. Trombetta, whose stable was on a roll prior to the winter break, holds a decided edge in purse earnings.

◗ Pimlico will have a new infield video board when its meet begins May 12. A new video board will be installed at Laurel prior to the opening of its summer meet July 1.

Last year on Preakness Day, the Pimlico facility lost water pressure when the infrastructure in the surrounding neighborhood could not handle demand. To make sure that does not happen again, the track has installed its own water-pumping station.

◗ Sagamore Farm, which has trained a number of its horses on its property, will have 25 stalls at Laurel Park this spring.