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Laurel Park: The History of Horse Racing Runs

Maryland is home to several professional sports such as football, basketball, and baseball. For instance, Laurel Park is one of its known race horsing venues and located in Laurel, Maryland, and it has a circumference of one and ⅛ miles. 

In the year 1911, Laurel Park Racecourse opened within the leadership of the County Fair in Laurel spearheaded by James Butler and Philip Dwyer who are both businessmen and notable horsemen. They obtain the track in the year 1914, and appointed Matt Win as the overall manager of the plan. 

On October 17, 1917, Kentucky Derby’s first foreign-born winner, Omar Khayyam, confronted reigning Belmont champion Hourless in a $10,000 competition that attracted 20,000 individuals. The result of the race shows that Hourless still won the game. 

The first century of the race curse engaged more than horse racing. In the year 1918, Laurel Park became Camp Laurel. Soldiers of Army Corps of Engineers made the course as their training site, and U.S troops positioned their tents on the field. 

Moreover, the Jockey Club in Maryland, owned by Pimlico and Timonium, acquire Laurel from the property of a Butler in the year 1947. They both had a concept of transferring the Pimlico conference to Laurel. The track then leased to Morris, who had John Schapiro as his youngest son, who later became the new chairman of the field. This phenomenon happens after the General Assembly in Maryland dismissed the concept of succeeding Pimlico with the Park. 

The track underwent a history of notable change from 1950-1984. Renaming the field to Laurel Race Course, the Washington International Stakes introduced at the one and ½ miles on turf. 

Baltimore Washington International Turf Cup

From the year 1952 to the disappearance of D.C in the year 1994, the race was one of the largest turf races in the world. The opening of the sport attracted seven horses from four nations, including the British winner, Wilwyn. 

The event is a Grade II American race that took place at the Laurel, Maryland in the field of Laurel Park Racecourse. Horses run through a distance of one and ½ miles, and at that time, it attracted several top racehorses from Europe and North America. 

Racehorse Kelso, the only five-time horse of the year, attempted for the fourth time to beat rival Gun Bow in the year 1964 at the Washington D.C International. During his three prior attempts, Kelso completed second, all by less than a distance of length. 

International Stakes happen annually at the Laurel Race Course, then discontinued due to its location on the calendar which is late in the fall as well as the Breeders’ Cup Turf’s reputation.

During the year 2005, the race brought back its entertainment as the Colonial Turf Cup held at Richmond, Virginia, particularly in Colonial Downs. Thus, in the years 2015-2016, the competition runs its event as Commonwealth Turf Cup at the  Laurel Park Racecourse. 

The race changed its name several times at different venues, in the year 2017 it again alters its title as the Baltimore Washington International Turf Cup. The event enchants several people, and there are many laurel park picks, and famous horses for betting. 

Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes

One of the many races that run annually at the Laurel Park Racecourse is the De Francis Memorial Dash. The event is an American Thoroughbred horse race which is open to three-year-old horses and older. 

Horses run at a field of dirt over a six-furlong range. During the year 1999, it turned into a Grade I race, however in the years 2008 and 2010 it discontinued its runs. After being restored in the year 2011, the race dropped its graded position and turned into a Grade III event in the year 2016. 

The De Francis Dash Stakes features a purse worth $900,00 and is a highlight of the Fall Festival of Racing. Furthermore, in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship Series, the De Francis Stakes was also the final race of the event. 

Horses must compete for at least three races of the MATCH Series. This phenomenon is to qualify their trainers and owners by collecting a majority of points in each division. Thus, one of the race participants, Lewisfield, had a chance to tie with a De Francis win for the general championship, but the Jeff Runco novice finished off the board. 

Commonwealth Oaks

Since the year 2015, this kind of American Thoroughbred horse race runs at the Laurel Park in Maryland. Virginia Oaks, as what it is known as it takes place back in Colonial Downs in New Kent County, Virginia. Thus, the race is available to fillies from three years of age who are prepared to run a one and ⅛ miles on turf. 

The race did not take place in the year 2018 since Colonial Downs intended to start racing in 2019. Thus, it could display a graded stake as part of the offering in the first year, even by getting a year off. 


In summary, several horse racing events run in Laurel Park in Maryland. Each of the races holds various histories and reigning periods. Thus, Laurel Park is a marvelous place where horse racing is popular.