The Maryland Racing Commission gave management of the Marlboro races permission yesterday to conduct 10 Triple pools on Oct. 31, the second card of the track's two-day meeting this year.
The first program, Oct. 24, will have five Triple pools, the number conducted by state thoroughbred tracks. However, on the second Wednesday, Marlboro will follow the lead of Rosecroft Raceway and conduct Triple betting on all its races.
The Triple has become one of the most popular bets at pari-mutuel tracks. To collect on such a bet, the gambler must correctly select the 1-2-3 finish in a race. Payoffs usually range upward of $200 with a $3 bet.
"It's just some promotion that we're doing," said Bill Chambers, general manager of the Prince George's Equestrian Center, where the races will be run. "It seems to help Rosecroft when it runs Triples on all races each Friday. If we can find a way to increase our business, we can raise the purses, and that's what horsemen would like."
After the monthly meeting of the commission at Timonium, Chambers said there would be about $125,000 in purses for the two Wednesdays.
On the two programs conducted at Marlboro last year, the total mutuel handle was $761,000. Chambers said he believes that, with good promotion and operation, the track could have a mutuel handle of $500,000 each day.
The races will be run on the site of the old Marlboro Race Course, which was closed after the 1971 meeting and its dates given to Bowie Race Course.
The grandstand was destroyed by fire a few years later. Racing returned there as a one-day stand in 1988, and increased to two days last year. Tents and open, portable stands accommodate the fans.
"We've got 80 mutuel machines set for the meeting next month," Chambers said. "That first year, we had 12,000 people out there and didn't have sufficient facilities."
Marlboro will conduct 10 races each of the Wednesdays, the one day of the week that Laurel Race Course will be dark. Marlboro will take much of its working crew from Laurel.
Post time will be noon each day.
Chambers said he expects the entire purse schedule to be financed by sponsorship, as it was last year.
The commission also approved a request for Laurel's fall-winter meeting, which will begin Sept. 20, to conduct 10 races on weekdays, 11 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and 12 on Oct. 20 and 21, when the International Turf Festival is conducted.
The commissioners took final action on several rules changes, including one that removes the limit on number of races that can be conducted each day.
Discussion revealed that the Administrative and Executive Legislative Review Committee has challenged the change because of wording of the proposed rule.
Marty Jacobs, representing Laurel, said the track was asking for only one 12-race card, and the wording could be changed so that the committee could accept it.
"We're not asking to run 13 races on one day," Jacobs said. "That may be only for an unusual circumstance."