Split meetings at Pimlico likely to go

November 03, 1990|By Dale Austin | Dale Austin,Sun Staff Correspondent

LAUREL -- The Maryland racing calendar next year isn't expected to include split meetings at Pimlico Race Course in August and September, before and after Timonium's meeting.

That would necessitate a change for the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, which was run Aug. 18 at Pimlico. Either the race would be shifted to Laurel Race Course or moved to another date.

Joe De Francis, president of Pimlico and Laurel, said yesterday that the outline of dates has been set but that the exact length of meetings has not been determined.

Track management will request the dates at the next meeting of the Maryland Racing Commission, on Nov. 14.

"We're planning to run Laurel into mid-March," De Francis said, "then pick up at Pimlico and go to late June or early July. Then, it would be back to Laurel until Timonium [which will open about Aug. 24 and run through Sept. 2].

"After that, it would be back to Pimlico through the end of September or the beginning of October, then back to Laurel for the rest of the year."

The principal difference between the 1990 and 1991 schedules would be Pimlico's running in late summer.

This year, Pimlico opened July 26 and raced until Aug. 24, when it closed 10 days for Timonium. Pimlico reopened Sept. 6 and ran through Sept. 18 before racing moved to Laurel for the remainder of the year.

"Depending on whether you call the Pimlico days one meeting or split meetings with Timonium in the middle, we're looking to change that," De Francis said.

Although the track president didn't comment on the number of dates to be raced at each track, one source said the format will remain about the same as in 1990, when Pimlico had 102 days and Laurel 162.

* Jockeys Mike Luzzi and Paul Nicol hit the track hard when their mounts fell yesterday, but neither was hurt seriously.

Luzzi fell when Crafty North tumbled just past the finish line in the seventh race. Luzzi said he had pain in his right hip, but walked from the first-aid room to the jockeys' room, then went home to nurse his bruises. Crafty North was not hurt.

Nicol fell just past the finish line of the 10th race when Cocanut Man dropped. Nicol reported no injuries, but Cocanut Man had to be humanely destroyed by lethal injection.

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