LAUREL -- Laurel Race Course president Joe De Francis yesterday reiterated his position on the new aspects of the track's Double Triple wager, saying the $5 minimum was "designed for a specific segment" of the track's clientele.
Fans have been indifferent to the "new" Double Triple, instituted 10 racing days ago with a $100,000 guarantee. Yesterday, the carry-over passed into six figures ($100,344.40) for the first time since the revision, a slow climb similar to those during the previous five years, when the bet required a $3 minimum.
De Francis said he was "a little disappointed that the guarantee didn't generate more betting" and expressed surprise when told many fans opposed the change.
"I've gotten both negative and positive reaction to it," he said, "but mostly positive."
Neil Carp, 45, of Hunt Valley, was typical in his opposition to the bet. "It's bringing nobody out to the track," he said. "It just costs too much to get alive."
Asked how the bet would ultimately be won, Carp said: "I think a syndicate will come in from New York and take all the money back with them."
De Francis, while saying the format remains an experimental one, maintained the higher cost adversely affects big bettors more than smaller ones. "They can't use as many combinations and cover it as effectively," he said. "It's an excellent opportunity for a small bettor to win a huge sum of money.
"I don't think results have been definitive, but I'll be very anxious to see what the pattern will be over the next three to four days. You have to remember that this was not designed to be all things for all people."
Post times at Laurel will change beginning Sunday with the shift to standard time.
Except for special programs, first post on weekends and holidays will be noon, and weekdays will be 12:30 p.m.
On Nov. 2, a 15-race program that includes all seven Breeders' Cup races will start at 10 a.m. -- five races "live" before the simulcasts, and three after. First post on Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day, will be 10:30 a.m.
NOTES: Weekend features at Laurel/Pimlico: The Japan Racing Association Handicap tomorrow and the Maryland City Handicap on Sunday. . . . The NYRA Mile from Aqueduct tomorrow is the weekend's only out-of-town simulcast.