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Pimlico to reopen for off-track betting as horse racing slowly returns to Maryland

A crew works on putting up a platform near the main entrance at Pimlico Race Course, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A crew works on putting up a platform near the main entrance at Pimlico Race Course, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Pimlico Race Course will open its doors to the general public Thursday, allowing visitors to use the first and second floors of the Clubhouse to watch and bet on horse racing at other tracks as Maryland businesses continue to reopen amid a relaxing of COVID-19-related restrictions.

The Maryland Jockey Club announced that, following the reopening, the track will be open Wednesday through Sunday for simulcast wagering.The plan does not include live horse racing at the track.

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All staff and visitors will be required to have temperature checks and wear face coverings, the group wrote.

The Clubhouse will open at 11:30 a.m. each day and close at around 11:15 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11:45 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 8:30 p.m. on Sundays, the group wrote.

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Horse racing in Maryland has returned in a sort of staggered form after tracks initially closed down completely in March.

Live racing resumed at Laurel Park on May 30 with no crowds after the Maryland Jockey Club received approval from the Maryland Racing Commission. Laurel Park is hosting races every Friday and Saturday.

However, officials have not yet announced a plan to bring racing back to the Baltimore track. Health officials turned the Pimlico parking lot into a COVID-19 testing site in April.

The Preakness, Pimlico’s flagship race and one leg of the Triple Crown series, was moved to Oct. 3 as officials flipped the schedule of the three races.

The traditional third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes in New York, was instead the first leg of the series this year. Overwhelming favorite Tiz the Law won the race on June 20 without any spectators in the stands.

The Kentucky Derby, traditionally the first and flashiest leg of the race, will now be held second on Sept. 5.

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