11/03/2017 3:04PM

Winter Carnival will highlight 22-stakes winter meet


Laurel Park will run 22 stakes worth a total of $2.25 million during its winter meet, which begins Jan. 1 and runs through May 6.

The Winter Carnival, which will be held Feb. 17, will be the highlight of the season and will include the Grade 2, $300,000 Barbara Fritchie and Grade 3, $250,000 General George.

In last year's Fritchie, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares, High Ridge Road defeated By the Moon by a neck. Imperial Hint, who is scheduled to run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Saturday, won the seven-furlong General George.

Thirteen stakes at the meet will have their purses increased by $25,000, including the four Winter Carnival undercard stakes: the Miracle Wood, Wide Country, John B. Campbell, and Maryland Racing Media. All four will be worth $100,000 this year.

"Our handle continues to grow as our field size and quality continues to improve," said Sal Sinatra, president of the Maryland Jockey Club. "We're looking forward to more growth come the new year."

Three other Super Saturday programs are scheduled at the meet.

On Jan. 27, four $100,000 stakes are scheduled. Five stakes worth a total of $450,000 will be held March 17 on Owners Fantasy Day.

The $125,000 Federico Tesio and $125,000 Weber City Miss for 3-year-olds top a five-stakes day on April 21. For the third year in a row, the 1 1/8-mile Tesio and Weber City Miss, a 1 1/6-mile race for fillies, will serve as Win and You're In races for the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

The Tesio will be a Win and You're In only for Triple Crown-nominated horses.

The Maryland Jockey Club has applied for 171 racing dates in 2018: 159 at Laurel and 12 at Pimlico.