Overnight purses to increase Feb. 2 thanks to slots revenue
Revenue from slot machines at Hollywood Casino Perryville and The Casino at Ocean Downs will allow Laurel Park to raise overnight purses by an average of $26,000 per day beginning with the Feb. 2 card. Laurel's average daily overnight purse target is now $186,000, up 16 percent from a previous average of $160,000 at the winter meet that began Jan. 1. "This will give our racing office a chance to compete with surrounding states who have used revenue from slot machines to become significant players in the Mid-Atlantic region," Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas said. "The purse increase should mean … larger and more competitive fields, meaning a boost in interest on our product from bettors around the country." The average field size for the first 12 days of the meet has been 7.3 per race. The Laurel racing office will take entries for the Feb. 2 program Friday. Live racing is conducted Wednesdays to Saturdays through the end of March, with holiday exceptions, before live racing shifts to Pimlico Race Course on Apr. 1.
More Laurel Park: Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher will ship McVictory from New York to Laurel Park to face a handful of fillies and mares in today's $75,000 Nellie Morse Stakes. The 5-year-old daughter of Victory Gallop (7-5) spent the last half of 2010 racing against stakes company, ending with two seconds, two thirds and a fourth in added-money events. She started her 2011 campaign with a third-place finish in Aqueduct's Lady On The Run on Jan. 16. Harry Vega picked up the mount.
Baltimore Belle (5-2) became a stakes winner when she captured the Maryland Million Oaks in October while in the barn of trainer J.B. Secor. She followed that win with a game second in Laurel's Twixt Stakes. The daughter of Bowman's Band was purchased by Larry Johnson for $130,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed Sale at Timonium and sent to trainer Mike Trombetta. She has posted five workouts in anticipation of this start, including three bullet performances.
"She is all class," Tana Aubrey-Verge, Trombetta's Laurel Park assistant, said. "She couldn't be doing any better. She is training well and is happy in her new home. J.B. told me that I would love her and he was right."
Julian Pimentel has the riding assignment on Baltimore Belle, who has been first or second nine times in 13 career starts.
Rodney Jenkins will saddle undefeated Music Please (4-1) on Saturday. Eric Camacho rode the Bowman's Band filly to rallying victories in three seven-furlong tests during the 2010 Laurel Park fall meeting, including the Squan Song Stakes in December.
Potosina (6-1) carries the hopes of trainer Mark Shuman into the Nellie Morse. In 2009 she finished seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and last year was third in the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico Race Course and in Monmouth's Desert Vixen. The daughter of Cactus Ridge ended the year with troubled, off-the-board efforts in two stakes at Aqueduct. Sheldon Russell rides her for the first time.
Serenadia (10-1) was claimed for $5,000 in September, then stepped up to finish second in the Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap and third in Delaware's Tax Free Distaff. Tom Iannotti trains the Lion Hearted mare, and Forest Boyce will be aboard.
Heavenly Choir (15-1) left the maiden ranks on her seventh try earlier this month. She led from start to finish on Jan. 8 and won off by eight lengths under Malcolm Franklin. He retains the mount for trainer Edith Howland.
Registration open for Presidents Day Lax Shoot-Out
Team registrations are being accepted for the 14th annual Presidents Day Lax Shoot-Out on Feb. 21 in Hampstead. The Lax Shoot-Out is an open-level event for school, recreation and club teams in the Mid-Atlantic area. The tournament features round-robin competition, and all teams are guaranteed a minimum of three games. Competition is available for both boys and girls teams in the following dual age groupings: 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, 13/14, 15/16 and 17/18. Registration information is available at usamateursports.com under the "Lacrosse" heading. For additional information, call 410-363-8610 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goucher loses to Moravian in men's basketball, 80-67
Shane Yambur scored 20 points, but host Goucher (3-10, 1-5 Landmark Conference) fell, 80-67, to Moravian (9-8, 3-3) on Friday. The Greyhounds, led by D.J. Strayhorn with 22 points, used a balanced offense, scoring 40 points in each half.
Women's college basketball: Visiting Moravian (10-7, 5-1 Landmark) held Goucher (2-12, 2-4) to 16 points in the first half and won, 72-55. Sharnell Huff finished with 19 points for the Gophers.