Home of the Preakness Stakes, Maryland has been a fixture in the United States’ horse racing scene. While sports betting is still not legal in the state, OTB Maryland has been around for a while and horse racing remains one of the hot commodities both for the locals and tourists. With legal sports betting on the horizon, horse racing popularity can only go up.
We’ll go over the main OTB Maryland topics including:
Legal sports betting continues to be a contentious issue in the state. With the rest of the country moving to making sports betting legal, plenty of sportsbook operators in the state are optimistic Maryland will join the legalizing states.
However, OTB Maryland is and has been legal with six or more off-track betting (OTB) facilities. There is no legal limit to the number of OTB outlets.
These OTB outlets usually operate in casinos, and/or racetracks. The six are the G. Boone Restaurant, Greenmount Station, Hollywood Casino Perryville, Horseshoe Casino, MGM National Harbor Casino, Pimlico Race Course (while racing is not happening), Timonium Fair Grounds, and the Riverboat on the Potomac.
Fans can also look to online racebooks to get their horse racing betting fix. Plenty of top-rated racebooks are open to players from the United States and Canada and even offer specific bonuses and promotions for them.
While online sports betting is not legal in the state, any sportsbook that operates outside American soil are fair game. This means these books will remain open and continue to serve Americans and Canadians. Likewise, it is not illegal to play on these sites so you need not worry.
Bet365 lives up to its name by offering daily betting odds at the “best price guarantee”; they also feature plenty of exotic wagers regardless of the horse race
You can avail of up to $200 in bet credits on your first deposit; Bet365 also offers the “each Way Extra”, a feature that lets you increase or decrease the number of places in a race
Bet365 is a household name in the industry for a good reason. It has one of the best reputations for sportsbooks and offers some of the best betting odds even outside the racebook. While the interface can look intimidating at first, it only signifies how content-rich Bet365 is. Don’t hesitate to make them one of your books.Read Bet365 Review
The racebook odds are solid and while they aren’t always the best, they are usually around what the market is at; there is plenty of them and includes exotic wagers
BetOnline has a wide selection of racebook promos including a horse racing rebate and a no-risk bonus (up to $25 refunded if you lose a bet) for first bets
One of the best racebooks for recreational players, BetOnline’s slew of promotions make it too sweet of a deal to pass on this book. They offer plenty of horse racing markets at market price odds. Whether a new player or a seasoned bettor, BetOnline’s racebook should be a top choice.Read BetOnline Review
Bovada continues to assert its place in the crowded sportsbook industry by keeping up with the betting odds; though they are rarely first to post, they ensure the odds and markets are within the market leaders’
Bovada offers a deposit bonus, a Refer-a-Friend bonus, and you also get a rebate for most racebook bets you make. Use crypto to get a bigger more flexible bonus as well.
The combo of on-point betting odds, wide selection of racing markets, bonuses, promotions, and easy-to-navigate interface makes Bovada one of the best racebooks to use. Whether you’re a returning bettor or just starting out, give Bovada a look.Read Bovada Review
Maryland features horse races and off-track betting for most parts of the year. In the spring, it begins with The Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown. This takes place during the third Saturday of May every year.
Before the Preakness Stakes is the Dixie Stakes and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, grade-II horse races that serve as the undercard for the Preakness Stakes. All three of these races happen at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
During the fall, the scene shifts to Laurel Park where the Maryland Million Classic takes place as part of the Maryland Million Day. This is an 11-race program held every mid-October. The Maryland Million was created by renowned television sports broadcaster Jim McKay as the first State-Bred Showcase.
Also in the fall are some grade-3 stakes races in Laurel Park including the Baltimore Washington International Turf Cup and the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes. In the winter, there is the Barbara Fritchie Stakes and General George Stakes.
Not to be left out, there is also harness racing happening. The Maryland Sire Stakes and Maryland Standardbred Fund stakes take place around the summer between Rosecroft Raceway and Ocean Downs. With so much happening OTB Maryland betting sites have lots to offer.
Maryland goes beyond simply being the home of the Preakness Stakes. There is a rich off-track betting scene as evidenced by the growing handles from their main race courses.
It begins with the Pimlico Race Course. The home of the Preakness Stakes has been hosting races since 1870 and has features the who’s who of horse racing including Seabiscuit and War Admiral going at it or the triple-champion match race known simply as “The Great Race.”
Pimlico has endured all forms of historic events from the 1904 Great Fire of Baltimore to the Great Depression of the 1930s to World War II to the Prohibition and anti-gambling movement in 1910.
Next to Pimlico are a trio of race tracks: Laurel Park, the Rosecroft Raceway, and Ocean Downs.
Laurel Park opened in 1911 and is also owned by the Stronach Group, the Pimlico’s owners. This park hosts the grade 3 stakes races such as the Baltimore Washington International Turf Cup and the De Francis Memorial Dash. It also features state-bred showcase stakes races like the Maryland Million Classic.
The Rosecroft Raceway has endured several ownership changes and bankruptcies to remain one of Maryland’s main racetracks. It was finally purchased by the Stronach Group in 2016 to join Pimlico and Laurel Park.
Owned by Churchill Downs Inc., Ocean Downs is both a casino and harness racing track in Berlin, Maryland close to Ocean City. It hosts the Maryland Sire Stakes.
Maryland’s most prominent racetrack is Pimlico Race Course for it hosts the world-renowned Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the American Triple Crown. The racetrack opened in 1870 and has a one-mile dirt oval surrounding a 7/8 mile (seven furlongs) turf oval.
Pimlico was host to “The Great Race” in 1877, a 2 ½ -mile match race between a trio of champions: Ten Broeck, Tom Ochiltree, and Parole. Although Ten Broeck was the Kentucky champion and Tom Ochiltree was the Easern champion, it was Parole who emerged victorious after a late run.
Over 20,000 people crowded into Pimlico for this event. Even the United States Congress shut down for the day to witness this race.
Pimlico also hosted the match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral in 1938 before a crowd of 43,000.
The Preakness Stakes, which Pimlico has become synonymous to, was named after the colt Preakness who won the first Dinner Party Stakes (now known as the Dixie Stakes). This is the race where Secretariat set a new stakes record in 1973.
Also raced at the Pimlico are popular grade-II races like the aforementioned Dixie Stakes and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
Like the other Maryland racetracks, Pimlico has reported ever-growing live racing handles and attendances.
Located just outside Laurel, Maryland, this racetrack opened in 1911 and is 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs). It hosts a plethora of stakes races for thoroughbred horses including a handful of grade 3 stakes and state-bred showcase stakes races.
Laurel Park was opened in 1911 and underwent several name changes including Laurel Race Course to go along the Washington D.C. International, a grade II invitational horse race. The park has undergone several ownership changes and remodeling. But finally in 2019, the Stronach Group and city of Baltimore agreed to revitalize the facilities.
These upgrades would include getting a new grandstand, new dirt tracks, and synthetic and grass surfaces for racing. OTB Maryland is also an option.
Laurel Park has seen an uptick in its live racing handle. It remains one of the state’s most popular attractions and has a rich history.
Several Triple Crown winners like War Admiral, Secretariat, and Affirmed all won races here. Seabiscuit prepped at Laurel Park for his famous match race with War Admiral. Edgar Prado reached an historic milestone at this park by becoming just the fourth jockey to win 500 races in a single-season. And the Maryland Million, Jim McKay’s program to promote the Maryland breeding industry debuted here.
A list of some of the notable races here are the Maryland Million Classic, a state-bred showcase stakes race and grade 3 stakes like the De Francis Memorial Dash and International Turf Cup.
Nicknamed the “Raceway by the Beltway” for being close to Interstate 495, Rosecroft Raceway is one of Maryland’s premier harness racing tracks. It is located in Fort Washington and first opened in 1949. The Rosecroft’s track is 5/8-miles long and has a 700-foot home stretch.
Throughout this track’s history, it has featured many notable races. It hosted segments of the Breeders Crown from 1984 to 1988 and from 1995 to 1995 it hosted the second leg of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers, the Messenger Stakes. The Rosecroft also hosted the Potomac Stakes, the state’s most lucrative harness race in the early 90’s.
Presently, the Rosecroft hosts the Maryland Sire Stakes, which showcases the best Standardbred horses from the state.
The Rosecroft has seen a lot of change in its ownership through the years. With each change in ownership came improvements to the track and the way it handled its races.
The Miller family was its longest owners for nearly 40 years from 1947 to 1987. Mark Vogel then purchased the Rosecroft and it began hosting the Messenger Stakes and Potomac Stakes. This ownership was short-lived and only lasted three years. The Wesiman’s Colt Enterprises next purchased the track briefly until Fred Weisman’s death and increased the track’s handle.
Cloverleaf Enterprises took over until 2010 when they filed for bankruptcy. When Penn National Gaming took over in 2011, the Rosecroft saw an extension to its live racing. Finally, the current owners, the Stronach Group have begun plans for cosmetic improvements.
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Off Track Betting Locations in Maryland
Pimlico Race CourseHayward AvenueBaltimore, MD 21215Phone: (410) 542-9400
Laurel ParkP.O. Box 130Laurel, MD 20725Phone: (301) 725-0400From Baltimore: (410) 792-7718
Rosecroft Raceway6336 Rosecroft DriveFort Washington, MD 20744Phone: (301) 567-4000From Baltimore: (410) 792-9217
Casino at Ocean DownsP.O. Box 11Berlin, MD 21811Phone: (410) 641-0600
Cambridge Turf ClubRt. 50, Cambridge, MD 21613Tel: (410) 901-6104
Riverboat on the Potomac301 Beach TerraceColonial Beach, VA 22443Phone: (804) 224-7055
Northeast Racing and Sports Club2360 Pulaski HighwayNorth East, MD 21901Phone: (410) 287-4303
Timonium Race CourseP.O. Box 188Timonium, MD 21093Phone: (410) 252-0200