08/24/2011 12:48PM

Timonium: Kobiskie the one to follow

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Live racing in Maryland, absent since Preakness Day on May 21, resumes Friday with the opening of historic Timonium at the Maryland State Fair.

Timonium, which held its first meet in 1887 and is now the lone fair east of the Mississippi River to conduct Thoroughbred racing, will conduct a seven-day meet spanning Friday through Sunday this weekend and Friday, Sept. 2 through Labor Day.

First post time on opening day has been moved up to noon Eastern, one hour earlier than usual, in order to clear out racing fans in time to accomodate a sold-out concert on the track’s infield for Disney star Selena Gomez.

There are no stakes scheduled, meaning the racing menu will be limited to mostly claiming events, some as short as four furlongs, with a sprinkling of allowance races.

Bettors should pay close attention to horses trained by Dane Kobiskie and those ridden by J.D. Acosta.

Kobiskie and his client, PTK LLC, dominated the last two seasons at Timonium, winning with 16 of 37 starters (43 percent) and producing a return on investment of $2.58. Last year, they went 10 for 22 as Kobiskie finished as the meet’s leading trainer for the second straight year.

Kobiskie has two horses entered on Friday’s nine-race card, both owned by PTK. He will send out Please Sir, a 3-year-old colt, in race 3, a $5,000 claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-olds or older who have never won three races. Please Sir, 2 for 7 lifetime, won at the same distance and condition two starts back at Colonial Downs.

In race 9, Kobiskie will saddle the 3-year-old filly Smock in a four-furlong, $5,000 claimer for nonwinners of two lifetime. Although 1 for 6 overall, Smock is 1 for 2 on dirt, winning her career debut going 4 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town.

Acosta excels at Timonium, perhaps because he is accustomed to riding on a similar bullring at Charles Town, where he is the leading rider at the summer meet that began July 1. Acosta has finished first or second in the Timonium jockey standings four times since 2006, winning titles last year and in 2007 and 2008.

Acosta is named on mounts in seven races opening day, including the 4-year-old gelding Alston Guner in the featured eighth race, a first-level allowance at four furlongs.