04/07/2015 2:21PM

Pimlico turf season starts Thursday

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The first Maryland turf races of the season will be held at Pimlico on Thursday, weather permitting. Turf racing had been scheduled to start last Thursday but was pushed back a week due to the late arrival of spring.

Races 4, 5, 7, and 8 are scheduled to be run on the grass. Race 4 has 10 entrants, race 5 has 11, race 7 has 13, and race 8 has 10. This is a welcome relief as field size has dwindled in recent weeks as the pool of local dirt runners has been depleted.

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All four turf races are part of the Rainbow 6 and the 12 percent takeout pick five, which should help boost both pool sizes and payouts.

The first leg of the three-part turf starter series – for horses who have started for $5,000 or less in 2014-15 – will be run Saturday. The series was to have begun a week ago. There will be a division for males and another for females.