LAUREL, Md.--Laurel racetrack had to close down its track yet again after an unusually long period of freezing weather.
While there is no racing at Laurel, young steeplechase jockey Virginia Korrell will ride in a bumper race at Fairyhouse in Ireland on Sunday, Jan. 9.
A bumper race is a flat race for steeplechase horses ridden by steeplechase jockeys.
Korrell, who had been riding out for trainer Leslie Young and rode in a few races for Young over the summer, went to Ireland to ride out for trainer Andrew Slattery to gain experience.
Riding Plains Indian for Slattery, Korrell is listed on the morning line as third favorite at 6 to 1 along with three others,
But at Laurel, the track has been closed to training and racing since Jan. 2, and the earliest training may begin again is Jan. 12, with racing hopefully scheduled for Jan. 14.
Meanwhile, horses have to just jog around in the barns, and it is feared some of the trainers with smaller barns may not survive the loss of income.
WORD FROM a meeting of 80 trainers with Mike Rogers of the Stronach Group in the Laurel track kitchen on Jan. 8 is that the man who put down the cushion at Santa Anita put down the same cushion at Laurel.
That was an excellent cushion, and it worked well until this latest period of extreme cold when it froze because it didn't have enough sand.
So now the track at Laurel has to be stripped for the third time this year, although at least this time it is only the top four to six inches.
The track has been stripped as of Jan. 8 and the work of putting in the top four to six inches with additional sand is underway.
Provided there is no rain, officials at Laurel are saying training will be resumed next Wednesday, Jan. 12.
In addition, on Monday, January 10, Maryland Jockey Club has arranged a consultation with track experts Glen Kozak from NYRA and Jamie Richardson of Churchill Downs, who will be on-site to evaluate track conditions.
Laurel will be moving entry day for Friday, Jan. 14 from Sunday, Jan. 9 to Tuesday, Jan. 11.