Timonium Race Course lives on, and no one was more excited yesterday than vice president and general manager Max Mosner.
Mosner was even in a joking mood as opening day of the often troubled 10-day meet went off without any major hitches.
"Our opening-day handle was up more than $800,000 [a crowd of 8,120 bet $816,475 yesterday] over last year," said Mosner in reference to last year's opening-day card, which was canceled due to poor track conditions.
That turned last year's meeting into a nine-day affair that was hampered by horses collapsing in the heat, breaking down on the track and rearing up on the way to the barns. When some of those horses had be destroyed, some animal-rights groups threatened to protest the meeting this year.
But there were no protesters in sight yesterday.
"They weren't here today," said Mosner. "Hopefully, they won't be around the rest of the meet."
Mosner was sweating out the timing connections yesterday for the first simulcast race in the track's 110-year history.
But even those fears were put to rest when the $200,000 Hopeful Stakes from Saratoga Race Course was simulcast to the five-eighths-mile track at Timonium with no major hitches.
The handle at Timonium for the simulcast race was $71,124. It was the 10th race on yesterday's 11-race card.
Mosner said: "It [smooth opener] kind of feels good after what happened last year. The response from the horsemen and the opening-day crowd has been excellent."
Mosner said the handle of $816,475 was encouraging since it was up more than $200,000 over the average of $611,000 for the final three days of last year's meet.
When Mosner was asked if racing at Timonium was here to stay for a while, he said: "It's hard to make a judgment based on one day but I hope so. I'm still looking for a strong meet the rest of the way."
More than 2,000 tons of sand have been added to the Timonium surface to guard against a washout similar to the one that occurred on opening day last year.