Racing at Maryland Fair a treasured tradition, but challenges loom

The Timonium meet — fondly referred to as "The Big T" by racing fans in the state — has been buffeted by the same forces affecting the sport as Maryland strives to use state-subsidized purses to become one of the premier racing jurisdictions in the country again. The Timonium meet was expanded to 10 days this year, after featuring only seven days in most recent years.  Races on the small track — it's only 5/8th of a mile — can be hard to fill, though. Many horses spent the summer running in nearby states and their trainers would prefer to rest them going into the more lucrative Laurel fall meet. (Balt. Sun)

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Cirque du Soleil will play National Harbor again, even if MGM casino is under construction

If MGM Resorts International wins the right to build a casino-resort at National Harbor, it is possible that shovels will be in the ground before next summer. But The Peterson Cos.-owned National Harbor has still found a way to sign Cirque du Soleil for another summer season beneath the big top, on the same hilltop that MGM has lined up for its $800 million resort. Cirque plays National Harbor every two years. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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Three infected with West Nile virus in Maryland

Three cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in the Baltimore area by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the first appearance of the disease in the state this year. The virus, spread by infected mosquitoes to humans and other animals, has also been detected in mosquitoes collected at trap sites in Montgomery County and Worcester County, health officials said. (Wash. Post)

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Metro weighs options for fixing Red Line water leak

Metro will determine in the coming months how to fix leaks near the Medical Center station on the Red Line, and among the possibilities is a long-term shutdown of the heavily traveled line or other shorter-duration solutions. (Wash. Post)

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Md. LGBT group to protest band’s anti-gay lyrics at Fillmore Silver Spring

LGBT activists will stage an “educational picket” at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Monday evening to protest homophobic lyrics used by the Mexican rap-metal band Molotov, which is scheduled to perform. (Wash. Post)

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Joe Flacco buys house from former Ravens center Matt Birk

For four years, six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk snapped the football to Ravens star quarterback Joe Flacco. Since Birk retired in February, the veteran lineman has passed another valuable commodity onto Flacco with the sale of his Baltimore County home to the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quarterback for $1.385 million, according to records. (Balt. Sun)

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World Series champ Greg Merson on Maryland Live’s new poker room: ‘Elite’

When Greg Merson got hooked on poker as a Laurel teenager in the mid-2000s, he had to find private games if he wanted to play locally. “I started playing in home games around the area,” Merson said. “I played all different stakes in underground games in Maryland because we didn’t have casinos.” (Wash. Post)

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Keefe named executive director as Columbia Orchestra prepares for new season

As the Columbia Orchestra looks ahead to its new season, it also welcomes a new executive director. Katherine Keefe replaces Tedd Griepentrog, who served for 13 years in the position. "We're completely thrilled that she's accepting the position. She has the right experience and ideas," said Columbia Orchestra Music Director Jason Love. (Patuxent)

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