LAUREL -- Maryland racing fans with cable TV have gotten a gift for the New Year -- two, in fact.
Officials from Home Team Sports and Laurel and Pimlico race courses released details yesterday of new daily and weekly racing programs.
The daily show, which primarily will replay races, will be telecast the morning after a race program -- 11:30 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends. It will be similar to the HTS replay show that ran for several years before ending in January 1989.
A feature-oriented weekly show can be seen Wednesdays after the major HTS nightly attraction and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.
The daily program, which retains the old "Post Time at Laurel/Pimlico" title, premieres Wednesday; Tuesday's races will be replayed. The weekly program, called "Maryland Thoroughbred Action," begins Jan. 9.
Officials from HTS and the racetracks called the venture a "marketing and programming partnership." Extensive cross-promotion of each others' products, both sides said, is a major factor in the agreement.
Neither entity will pay the other a rights fee, and the contract is open-ended, said Jim Mango, track vice president. International
Sound will produce both shows.
Kim Goodwin, 23, will be the hostess of the daily show. She is a marketing employee at the tracks. Doug Vair, a former Baltimore radio sportscaster who serves as the tracks' in-house handicapper, will host the weekly show.
HTS, which has more than 2 million subscribers, reaches about 25 percent of households with televisions in the Baltimore-Washington area, according to HTS marketing director Mike Ortman.
The Maryland racing circuit has been without a viable replay show since the old "Post Time." A show on Channel 50 was produced for about a year, ending in August, but many Baltimore-area viewers said reception was difficult.
The new daily show lacks the immediacy many fans probably prefer, but officials said scheduling conflicts with other programs would have played havoc with slotting a nightly replay show.
NOTES: Chas' Whim heads the field for tomorrow's $100,000 Congressional Handicap. A field of 11 was entered in the 1 1/4 -mile race for older horses. . . . Jockey Michael Hunter, who rides Runaway Groom in the Congressional, will leave afterward for south Florida for the winter for the second straight year. Hunter plans to ride at the Gulfstream Park meeting, which begins Jan. 14, and return to Maryland in the spring. . . . The next match in the hot rivalry between Haymaker and Colonel Hill is likely to be Tuesday in the $60,000 Resolution Stakes. . . . Uncanny Tam's perfect record was spoiled yesterday by a last-place finish in the eighth race. The filly had won her first three career starts.
New HTS racing shows
Show: "Post Time at Laurel/Pimlico"
Times: Mornings following race programs: 11:30 a.m. weekdays, a.m. weekends
Hostess: Kim Goodwin
Show: "Maryland Thoroughbred Action"
Times: Wednesdays, following HTS' major nightly attraction; Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.
st: Doug Vair