In another time, Maryland was a hotbed for horse racing, its
history rich and its purses comparable with those in other states. It
was a place where jockeys could make a career and not have to
contemplate leaving for New York or California.
late 1980s, and maybe longer, being an up-and-coming rider at Pimlico
Race Course and Laurel Park has been akin to being a burgeoning major
league star at Camden Yards. Bigger markets - with longer racing seasons
and more lucrative purses - beckon.
Think of a miniature Mike Mussina - with a whip.
Just as Mussina left the Orioles for the Yankees, scores of
talented jockeys have left Maryland, including four likely Hall of
Famers. Chris McCarron and Kent Desormeaux sought the riches and
sunshine of year-round riding found at California's Santa Anita,
Hollywood Park and Del Mar. Edgar Prado and Ramon Dominguez went after
the bright lights and big-name trainers at New York's Belmont Park,
Aqueduct and Saratoga.