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Imperial and Royal Matters

Laurel Park celebrates 100th birthday

Laurel Park celebrates 100th birthday

Deep in the bowels of Laurel Park, beneath the oval where Secretariat, Seabiscuit and Barbaro once tread, runs a tunnel. It's a long-forgotten passage that bigwigs once used to escape the raucous crowds above.

Queen Elizabeth II, who raced a horse at Laurel, passed here. So did Cary Grant, J. Edgar Hoover and Tip O'Neill.

Elizabeth Taylor took the tunnel, en route to the winner's circle to present the trophy at the 1976 Washington D.C. International. In those 60 yards, folks recalled, the actress stopped to fix her hair. Twice.

In its heyday, Laurel was a magnet for dignitaries and celebrities, who flocked to the track to bet on the horses, and be seen. In 1958, an...