UPPER MARLBORO -- The races at Marlboro opened yesterday with a touch of nostalgia.
When Danny Wright rode All Trae to victory in the featured Marlboro Nursery, it was similar to the days in the 1960s when Marlboro was one of the few minor tracks with a stakes race.
"It's great to be back," Wright said. "I always enjoyed Marlboro. I was the leading bug rider here in 1968. Marlboro has tight turns, butthey're sweeping turns compared to some of the other minor tracks."
Wright and his wife, Linda, were the breeders of All Trae. Although they sold the horse before he began to race, the rules of racing say that Wright cannot ride against that horse.
It was the first of two consecutive Wednesday cards, with a festive atmosphere and conducted on a day when Laurel Race Course and most of the good horses that run there paused and permitted people in this area to attend races close to home. After next week's card, the races shut down for a year in favor of horse shows and training for about 80 thoroughbreds that couldn't be stabled at the big tracks.
Gone were the wooden stands that had stood from 1914 until they burned in 1981. Where the infield odds board used to be, horses were saddled. Fans obtained information about odds and payoffs on closed-circuit video monitors.
There were a few private grandstands, tents for the mutuels and for hamburger stands, and one heated tent -- called the Marlboro Club -- with seats and waiters.