08/22/2012 1:11PM

Timonium: Maryland racing resumes with fair meeting


Live racing returns to Maryland for the first time since Preakness Day with the opening of historic Timonium at the Maryland State Fair on Friday.

Timonium, which held its first meet in 1887 and is now the lone fair east of the Mississippi River to conduct Thoroughbred racing, will hold a seven-day meet spanning Friday through Sunday this weekend and Friday, Aug. 31, through Labor Day.

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. Three of the nine races on opening day carry allowance conditions.

First post time is 1 p.m. daily. Admission to the track is free with a paid $8 admission to the fairgrounds, located off Interstate 83. Because parking is limited, fans are advised to use the light rail, which is accessible from the city of Baltimore and has a stop at the western entrance to the fairgrounds.

Trainer Dane Kobiskie and jockey J.D. Acosta have been the two most dominant figures on the Timonium scene. Kobiskie tied for leading trainer at last year’s meet and topped the standings in 2010 and 2009. Over the past three seasons, Kobiskie’s horses have gone 20 for 53 (38 percent) with a positive $2.14 return on investment and 75 percent in-the-money finishes.

Acosta excels at Timonium’s five-furlong oval, perhaps because he is accustomed to riding on a similar bullring at Charles Town. Acosta has finished first or second in the Timonium jockey standings five times since 2006, winning titles in 2007, 2008, and 2010.

Less well-known but worth paying attention to at the short meet are trainer Tim Tullock and jockey Sarah Rook.

Tullock is 4 for 7 at the fair the past three years, including a 3 for 3 record in 2010. Tullock has four horses entered on opening day – Ring Ring in race 2 for $5,000 claimers; Regal Revenge in race  6, a second-level optional $25,000 claimer at 6  1/2 furlongs; Issues and Answers in race 7, a first-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs; and Favored Lady in a $4,000 claimer that closes out the card.

Rook, in her first season riding at the fair last year, went 9 for 20 to beat out Acosta for leading rider honors by one win. Rook has three mounts on opening day.