The racing surface at Laurel Park has undergone a series of tests following an uptick in equine injuries that led to the suspension of racing this weekend, and all the results have met industry standards, the Maryland Jockey Club said Saturday night.

“Based on these tests and their professional knowledge, our track experts have advised that there are no issues with the track and that it is safe to race and train,” the organization said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the Maryland Jockey Club said it is cancelling the card for Thursday, April 27, “due to insufficient entries.”

Horsemen “have determined not to submit entries for this Thursday’s racing card. Hopefully after reviewing the facts live racing will proceed,” the organization said.

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On Friday, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which represents owners and trainers in the state, had called for racing and the bulk of training to be moved to Pimlico Race Course starting April 27. Timothy Keefe, a local trainer and the association’s president, made the request after two horses broke down in back-to-back races on Thursday — the same day horsemen met with consultants earlier in the morning to discuss track conditions.

Owners, trainers, jockeys and exercise riders all talked with Dennis Moore, a track superintendent who oversaw changes at Santa Anita Park following a high-profile series of horse deaths there in 2019, and other officials with the Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita and the Maryland Jockey Club.

That afternoon, 4-year-old colt Golden Pegasus sustained a “catastrophic injury” in Race 4 and tossed jockey William Humphrey. The horse was euthanized on the track, according to race notes maintained by Equibase.

In Race 5, Bigmancan, a 6-year-old gelding, pulled up lame on the backstretch and was taken away in an equine ambulance, according to Equibase. He was later euthanized, according to multiple reports.

Racing was canceled earlier in the month on April 8 after two horses broke down during training hours. One of the horses was euthanized, according to a report in Thoroughbred Daily News.

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While the horsemen appreciate the input from Moore, Keefe said they would prefer to have an independent analysis from John Passero, who previously worked as the head groundskeeper at Laurel, Pimlico and the former Bowie Race Track, but is not employed by Stronach.

“We the horsemen would be much more comfortable having an assessment done by someone we’ve had a relationship with in the past,” he said.

On Twitter, local trainer Lacey Gaudet suggested horsemen have not been given the full picture of testing that has gone on over the last three days, which the Maryland Jockey Club said included ground penetrating radar, laser diffraction analysis and other methods.

“Why were horseman not debriefed on everything they say was done here?” she tweeted. “Where is the transparency to the horseman instead of just the media?”

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The Maryland Jockey Club said it had a veterinarian with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, a new oversight group tasked with implementing uniform safety protocols and anti-doping rules across the country, review fatality data, and she concluded the rate of deaths per 1,000 starts is down compared to last year.

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In its Saturday statement, the organization renewed its call for stakeholders to agree to new safety and veterinary measures similar to those implemented in California after dozens of horses died at Santa Anita Park in 2019.

“We hope that all stakeholders will be able to come to a consensus and adopt the enhanced veterinary and safety protocols that have been implemented with great success in California,” the Maryland Jockey Club said.

Still, training restrictions for Sunday at both Laurel and Pimlico appeared to raise eyebrows.

“No works at Laurel or Pimlico — apparently no issue with surface at the latter — and no gate schooling at either track,” the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association posted on its Twitter page. “Interpret as you wish. This to shall pass. Peace to all.”

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