Maryland racing takes center stage this weekend

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Ted Black

February 12th, 2018

This coming weekend many Americans will get an extra day off courtesy of the President's Day holiday on Monday, Feb. 19, and many racing fans in Maryland will need that day to recover after consecutive cards at Laurel Park and Rosecroft Raceway.

Saturday afternoon marks the latest edition of the Laurel Park Winter Racing Carnival and the historic oval is set to host six stakes worth a grand sum of nearly $1 million, headed by the Grade II, $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes for fillies and mares and the Grade III, $250,000 General George for older males, both at seven furlongs.

In fact, the Barbara Fritchie and General George could comprise the late daily double and cap a stellar card that also includes a quartet of $100,000 stakes - the Miracle Wood for three-year-old colts & geldings, the Wide Country for three-year-old fillies, the John B. Campbell for older horses and the Maryland Racing Media Stakes for older fillies and mares.

Also on tap for Saturday, the Maryland Racing Media Association will honor a quartet of winners. Irish War Cry was tabbed as the group's Maryland-based horse of the year for 2017 after the Graham Motion trainee won a pair of Grade II stakes and finished second in the Grade I Belmont. Longtime MJC photographer Jimmy McCue was selected as the Humphrey S. Finney Award winner for lifetime achievement, MJC Executive Sal Sinatra was chosen as the Dale Austin Newsmaker Award winner and trainer Lacey Gaudet was tabbed as the Nancy Alberts Breakthrough Award recipient.

Then on Sunday evening, Rosecroft Raceway will kick off its 2018 season when the Maryland five-eighths mile oval offers its first live card of the season. Last year Rosecroft offered live racing on Saturday and Sunday evenings, but this year it will host cards on Sunday and Wednesday evenings in an attempt to fill several voids in the simulcast schedule. Currently, both Sundays and Wednesdays appear light in regards to harness racing nationally and Rosecroft's signal should be well-received those nights.