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A lack of entries over track safety concerns continues to halt live horse racing at Laurel Park

Posted at 9:41 AM, Apr 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-26 15:21:27-04

LAUREL, Md. — Horsemen remain hesitant to enter into competition at Laurel Park following the death of another horse, which forced live racing to be suspended over the weekend.

Concerns over track safety have risen since four horses have died from injuries suffered this year at Laurel Park, the latest being Thursday when a 4-year-old colt named Golden Pegasus had to be euthanized.

Since then the Maryland Jockey Club claims to have hired experts to perform a battery of tests at Laurel Park to inspect the safety of its racing surface.

According to the Jockey Club the tests found "no issues with the track and that it is safe to race and train."

They also cite Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, Director of Equine Safety and Welfare with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, who reportedly concluded that fatality rates at Laurel Park have decreased since this time last year.

RELATED: Laurel Park suspends live racing until further notice after horse's death

Despite those efforts, the Jockey Club says there are still not enough entries to resume racing as scheduled this coming Thursday.

"We hope that all stakeholders will be able to come to a consensus and adopt the enhanced veterinary and safety protocols that have been implemented with great success in California," the Maryland Jockey Club said in a statement. "MJC has made repeated requests of the horsemen and are still waiting for their approval to be able to move forward with their implementation. While we all know that catastrophic injuries will not be eliminated completely it is clear from the above that our track is not the issue."

The Maryland General Assembly also recently created the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority, to oversee the stalled progress of improvements at Laurel which has been in the works for years.

Meanwhile the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, which the jockey club also runs, remains on for the weekend of May 19.