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Maryland Jockey Club ups race days at Laurel, Pimlico

Horses will run on 153 days at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in 2016.

The Maryland Jockey Club plans to run 153 days of racing at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in 2016, up from 142 days this year, the track operator announced Tuesday.

State racing officials called the calendar a promising sign given that most tracks around the country are cutting dates. In the 1980s in Maryland, races were run more than 200 days a year.

“We hope to be one of the few operators in the country requesting to add dates,” said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer for the Stronach Group, the Jockey Club’s parent company.

The Maryland Racing Commission on Tuesday approved a 54-day winter schedule for Laurel Park, which will include a three-week break starting in mid-February. The 2016 calendar will be highlighted by the 141st Preakness on May 21 at Pimlico.

“I believe it’s a home run for Maryland to announce we’re adding days,” said commission member Bruce Quade.

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