After an absence of nearly 40 years, Pimlico Race Course will bring back steeplechase racing on June 16, with two jumping events.
Both races will be for 3-year-olds and up and be over a 2 1/16-mile course. With this one-day stand, Pimlico joins Garden State, Belmont Park, Atlantic City Race Course, Delaware Park and Saratoga on the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association circuit.
"Steeplechasing and hunt racing have long and honorable traditions in Maryland, and many of our trainers have a steeplechasing background," said Pimlico president Joe De Francis in making the announcement. "We are delighted to welcome steeplechasing back to Maryland."
The last steeplechase race at Pimlico was a two-mile race Nov. 15, 1951.
* Duds, a first-time starter by Ack Ack out of the Forli mare Fanci Forli, won Maryland's first race of the year for 2-year-olds, Pimlico's second race yesterday.
Trained by Bernie Bond and ridden by Gregg McCarron, Duds broke on top and led all the way to a 3 1/4 -length victory over Kimonina, a daughter of Spectacular Bid, covering five furlongs in 59 3/5 seconds.
* El Hero, ridden by Michael Luzzi, came on through the stretch to overtake pace-setting Worth The Bid and win the featured Play the Red allowance race at Pimlico.
Trained by Vincent Blengs, the 3-year-old colt covered the six furlongs in 1:11 3/5. It was the second victory in his 13-race career.
* My Frenchman will be seeking his third consecutive win tomorrow in the $40,000 Roman Handicap, a five-furlong turf race.