Laurel Park will welcome the new year with a total of 17 stakes worth $1.7 million in purses, led by the $250,000 General George (G3) and the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie (G3) during its meeting winter of 2023, which starts on January 1.
The 40-day winter meeting will have live racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until March 31, with special holiday programs for Mondays, January 16 and February 20. Post time will be 12:15 PM ET before moving to 12:40 PM March 12th.
Stakes action begins Saturday, Jan. 21, with six stakes worth $550,000 in purses, topped by the $100,000 Spectacular Bid, a seven-furlong sprint that kicks off the Maryland Stakes Series for 3-year-olds, leading up to 148.th The Preakness (G1), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, May 20 at historic Pimlico Race Course.
Also on the Jan. 21 program will be the $100,000 Xtra Heat for 3-year-old fillies and the $100,000 What a Summer for older fillies and mares, both sprinting six furlongs; $100,000 fire socket for children 4 years and up to 6 ½ furlongs; and a pair of one-mile events for Maryland-bred horses – the $75,000 Jennings for 3-year-olds and older and the $75,000 Geisha for fillies and mares, each going a mile.
The 69th Barbara Fritchie for foals and older mares and 48sth The General George for 4-year-olds and older, both sprinting seven furlongs, co-headlines a six-stakes winter carnival schedule worth $700,000 in purses on Feb. 18. They are the first graded events on the 2023 Maryland stakes calendar.
The Winter Carnival will also feature the $100,000 Miracle Wood for 3-year-olds going a mile and the $100,000 Wide Country for 3-year-old fillies sprinting seven furlongs; and the $100,000 John B. Campbell for 3-year-olds and older and the $100,000 Nellie Morse for fillies and older mares, each at 1 1/16 miles.
The sophomores will once again be in the spotlight in the $100,000 Private Conditions and $100,000 Beyond the Wire as part of a Saturday, March 18 schedule with five stakes worth $450,000 in purses. The privateers are contested at 1 1/16 miles, while the filly’s Beyond the Wire runs at one mile.
Joining them on the March 18 card is the $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial for 4-year-olds and up, going one mile and two $75,000 stakes for older Maryland horses, the six furlongs Not For Love and Seven Stages. Conniver, the latter for females.
Laurel’s subsequent spring meeting will feature back-to-back Saturday stakes beginning April 15, highlighted by the $125,000 Federico Tesio for 3-year-olds and the $125,000 Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies. Once again, the 1 1/8-mile Tesio will serve as the “Win and In” qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated horses at the Preakness, while the 1 1/16-mile Weber City Miss gives the winner an automatic berth in the 99th Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on Preakness Eve, May 19.
Rounding out the April 15 schedule are the $100,000 Frank Y. Whiteley for 3-year-olds and up, which sprints seven furlongs, and the $100,000 Heavenly Cause for 3-year-olds and mares, which are back on the Maryland Stakes calendar in 2022.
The first turf stakes of 2023 are scheduled for Saturday, April 22 – the $100,000 Henry S. Clark for 3-year-olds and over and the $100,000 Dahlia for fillies and mares 3 and older, each scheduled for one mile, and the King T $100,000 Leatherbury, a 5 ½ furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up.
Also on the April 22 schedule are a pair of $100,000 dirt stakes, the 1 1/8-mile Native Dancer for 3-year-olds and older and the six-furlong Primonetta for fillies and 3-year-old mares much more.