$234 million bet at Pimlico

March 21, 1991|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Evening Sun Staff

In 1990, nearly a quarter of a billion dollars was bet at Pimlico Race Course.

What happens to all this money?

Of the $234,071,757 wagered, about 80 percent, or $187,532,497, was returned to the fans who made winning bets.

That left $46.5 million that was split nearly 50-50 between the track and the horsemen.

Of that $46.5 million, about half, or $23.9 million, went into purses -- the prize money that goes to the winning horses.

The track ended up with $20.7 million after state taxes, contributions to the Breeders' Fund and to the track employees' pension fund were subtracted. But the track also took in an additional $10 million from admissions, program sales, parking, concessions and television contracts from the Pimlico Special and Preakness.

That meant Pimlico's owners collected nearly $30 million in racing revenues. But they spent $28 million in racing-related expenses, such as an annual salary of $194,000 for track head Joseph A. De Francis, who gets a similar paycheck from Laurel for a combined annual salary of $388,000. Another $2.7 million went to pay interest on the $24.4 million loan the owners borrowed to buy the track. The end result: a $483,972 loss.

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