LAUREL -- Attendance and handle were slightly off from last year for the last 35 days of the Laurel Race Course meet, which concluded yesterday.
Those 35 days originally were scheduled to be run at Pimlico Race Course, but were shifted to Laurel so that track repairs could be made.
The handle was down 2.9 percent, to an average of $1,623,766, and attendance dropped 1.6 percent, to an average of 10,530, reflecting the trend in racing during the recession.
Action shifts to Pimlico tomorrow for 71 racing days (through June 30) with the $50,000 Politely Stakes at six furlongs highlighting the opening card.
No racing is scheduled Easter Sunday, but Pimlico will run the following day, April 20. There will also be racing on Memorial Day, May 25.
The highlight of a $3,455,000 stakes offering will be the May 16 Preakness, second leg of the Triple Crown.
With 183 wins, 142 seconds and 106 thirds, Edgar Prado ran away with his fifth overall Maryland title in the jockey's race at Laurel's combined fall-winter meeting that began Oct. 10.
The trainer's competition had an even more familiar face on top. King Leatherbury's horses won 61 times in 393 starts, giving him his 33rd overall title in the state, and 16th at a Laurel meeting.
* Doctor Ichabod squeezed through on the rail in the stretch and rallied from last in a five-horse field to win the featured $25,000 claiming race yesterday.
With Prado, the meeting's riding champion, aboard, the roan gelding ran down 1-to-2 favorite Tobins Fool by a head in 1 minute, 17 2/5 seconds for 6 1/2 furlongs.
NOTES: The bettor who won the $375,350.40 Laurel-record payoff in the Double Triple Sunday stepped forward to cash the ticket yesterday. He or she preferred to remain anonymous, but the winner was from Baltimore and purchased only two tickets in the exotic bet. The payoff was the second highest ever in Maryland, topped only by a $414,243 return in the Double Triple last April 4 at Pimlico. No one hit yesterday and the new pool of $8,194.50 will carry over to the Pimlico meeting, under rules passed by the Maryland Racing Commission.