Tracks negotiating for radio programs

March 31, 1991|By Marty McGee

Radio Days. As far as Maryland racing is concerned, they're just a piece of nostalgia.

From 1979 until late last year, a weekly radio show on racincould be heard in Baltimore. But since Doug Vair resigned from WCBM in November, and the station's racing show subsequently was dropped, a void has existed in the local radio-racing alliance.

The airwaves might be filled again with talk of furlongs, clasdrops and stretch-outs, however. Management at Laurel and Pimlico race courses has been seeking a radio package that would result in considerably more coverage of local racing.

Joe De Francis, Laurel/Pimlico president, said management has held discussions "with several stations concerning a long-term partnership. We're very anxious to get a weekly show as part of a package."

Jeff Beauchamp, WBAL general manager, said a weekly show "has definitely been discussed" with De Francis. "We're very interested in rekindling our involvement in Maryland racing," Beauchamp said.

"I don't like to negotiate in the newspapers," De Francis said. "I will say the talks with WBAL have been very positive."

Although former Pimlico general manager Chick Lang would continue to be WBAL's racing host on major events, Lang said he does not want to host a weekly show.

Dick Woolley, who was host of a show on WITH, WBAL an WFBR from 1979-88, said the shows were a "vehicle for fans to vent their spleen," as well as a publicity forum for racing personalities that was not available otherwise.

Woolley said he has potential sponsors who are "very interestedin launching a show -- with Woolley as host -- on a station other than WBAL.

Lang said regardless of who does it, racing coverage on radio is important to the industry. Is anyone out there listening?

*

Desormeaux is leaving Maryland.

That is, Keith Desormeaux, Kent's older brother. Keith has been training in Maryland for about a year but is leaving Saturday for Louisiana, where his family and that of his wife, Julie, live.

Kent Desormeaux, 21, left in February 1990 to ride in Southern California after three sensational years in Maryland. Keith, 24, joined Kent in Maryland in 1988; after Kent left, Keith stayed behind and took out a trainer's license.

E9 Keith will train at Louisiana Downs, near Shreveport.

When you have 27 Triple Crown nominees, including runners bsuch sires as Seattle Slew, Fappiano and Mr. Prospector, you should be well-represented when the band strikes up "My Old Kentucky Home" on Kentucky Derby day.

And trainer Wayne Lukas will be. But don't expect him to havanything better than an outside shot. His best 3-year-old at this point appears to be the filly Withallprobability -- who, as yet, is not even a nominee -- while most of his blue-blooded colts have been disproved as top-class material or are still lightly raced.

Lukas, however, can't stand to be away from the spotlight that Derby week affords: He's had at least one Derby starter every year since 1981.

*

The proposed match race at Santa Anita will undergo two changes if it actually takes place.

The $100,000, four-furlong race has been moved from April 14 tApril 20. Olympic Prospect, a stakes-class thoroughbred sprinter, will run against Griswold, a champion quarter horse. Olympic Prospect replaces Sunny Blossom, who has not been racing to trainer Eddie Gregson's satisfaction.

The race is still subject to approval by the California HorsRacing Board.

*

TTC Buddy Sauerhoff, retired masseur of the jockeys' rooms at Maryland racetracks, is the 1991 recipient of the Eli Hanover Award from the Ring 101 boxing organization.

Sauerhoff is being honored for his contributions to boxing in Maryland.

The awards banquet will be held April 20 at La Fontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie. Tickets are $30. For information, call 879-1732 or 644-2062.

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