LAUREL -- Laurel Race Course opens its long fall/winter session today with a 10-race program featuring the $60,000 Challedon Handicap.
Programs and grandstand admission are free today.
The Laurel Turf Festival, featuring the 40th running of the International, highlights the 62-day session. Five Festival races will be spaced over the Oct. 19-20 weekend.
Saturday, the track initiates a $100,000 Double Triple guarantee, a gimmick wager that will require a $5 minimum bet, up from $3. There is no Double Triple wagering today or tomorrow.
The Double Triple change coincides with the track's 80th birthday celebration Saturday. A variety of specials and attractions will be offered.
If tradition stands, and pending approval of 1992 racing dates by the Maryland Racing Commission, racing will likely remain at Laurel through mid-March after this meet ends Dec. 31. In essence, a five-month span of racing, consisting of two meets, begins today.
The Challedon, for older Maryland-bred runners, has drawn a competitive field of 10. Favoritism in the seven-furlong race is up for grabs, although Smart Alec, Track Rebel and Flaming Emperor all seem likely to draw considerable attention.
Pimlico Race Course, which ended its 1991 live racing schedule Tuesday, remains open as an intertrack site for the Laurel races.