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Maywood to open Thursday with changes

January 28, 2010

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The longest consecutive racing streak in the Chicagoland area reaches 64 on Thursday night as Maywood Park kicks off its 2010 harness racing season with an 11-race program which gets underway with a new starting time of 7:10 p.m. (CST). In an effort to stimulate handle, management and horsemen have now agreed to allow a “trailer” in five races on the Friday programs and two races on the Thursday cards.
“We’re trying to shake some things up and having bigger fields is something that fans have always suggested to us,” said Maywood Park general manager Duke Johnston. “We’re hoping that having a total of seven races with nine-horse fields over the two cards each week will have a positive effect on our handle numbers.”
Maywood Park has also taken steps to try and bring horses saddled with outside post positions into play much more often by moving its starting point back approximately 175 feet. This should give horses starting from posts six, seven and eight a nice “slingshot effect” at the start of each race, giving drivers many more options when leaving from an outside post.
“We’re looking for this to definitely increase the amount of wagering on the outside horses in each race,” explained Johnston. “In the past people would pretty much just throw out the horses in the seven and eight slots since they won at about a five percent ratio. We’re hoping that our new 'Quick Start' experiment will now put those horses back into play. I think it’s a big positive not only for the gamblers but for the owners, trainers and drivers of these horses as well.”
Maywood Park will also feature a nice array of both state-bred and “open” stakes events throughout the season.
Two of its signature events, the $100,000 Filly Maywood Pace (June 18) and the $100,000 Maywood Pace (June 25), will be contested on the final two Friday nights in June.
Windy City Pace Night will take place on Friday, Nov. 19, and once again some of North America’s top trotters and pacers are expected to battle on one of fastest half-mile surfaces in the country. Along with the Windy City Pace, the Cinderella Stake for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the Galt Trot for 3-year-old trotting colts and the Abe Lincoln Stake for 2-year-old pacing colts will be contested that night. (Maywood Park)
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