Hammer and horseraces

SYLVIA BADGER

March 29, 1992|By SYLVIA BADGER

Maryland racing czar Joe De Francis has spent a lot of time in Annapolis this session lobbying for the Horse Racing Act of 1992, which would allow off-track betting (OTB) parlors in Maryland. He's hopeful that OTB will pass this legislative session, but until it does, it's hard for him to focus on the May 16 running of the Preakness.

But he is thinking about it. When I saw him last week, he was full of Preakness chitchat. He's excited about a horse named Dance Floor, which won the Fountain of Youth Race and came in second in the Florida Derby. The owner of this horse is none other than Hammer, one of the hottest names in rap music today.

Hammer could become a hot name in racing circles if his horse wins a Triple Crown race. Hammer and his father, Louis Burrell, and his brother, Louis Jr., own Oak Town Stable in Oakland, Calif.

De Francis chatted with Hammer's dad at the African-Americans in Racing Awards Dinner, and he intimated that he wanted to bring Dance Floor to the Preakness, which means Hammer would attend the Preakness.

De Francis is also hoping that Arazi will run in the Triple Crown races. He feels that Arazi, "Horse of the Year" in Europe as a 2-year-old, could become racing's next "super horse." And another Preakness possibility is Dash for Dottie, which is owned by Henry and Dot Rosenberg. Wouldn't it be exciting to have a Preakness winner that is locally owned? Much more on the Preakness happenings at a later date.

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Whether it's soap suds or champagne bubbles, Vince Williams is home. During the day, he's a soap star on "Guiding Light," but at night he loves to play his saxophone.

Williams was invited to Baltimore Friday night for a gig with Pieces of a Dream, the jazz group that regularly plays at the Peabody Court Conservatory on Fridays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Williams joined James Lloyd, Lee Pittman and Gary Richardson for some sweet sounds in the Conservatory.

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Remember the hubbub that took place in 1988 when longtime WMAR-TV reporter-anchor Jack Bowden and WMAR parted ways because of a contract dispute? (He was followed shortly by his wife, Susan White-Bowden, who had also been on Channel 2 for years.) Jack soon filed a suit that charged wrongful discharge and challenged the station's non-compete clause.

The decision has been a long time in coming, but WMAR-TV president and general manager Arnold Kleiner is happy that U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Garbis recently found for the defendant, WMAR-TV. Bowden is working as reporter-anchor on WJLA-TV (Channel 7) in Washington.

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You're invited to "Eat your heart out" at the Sheraton Inner Harbor on Tuesday night when 30 of Baltimore's finest chefs, from places such as Harbor Court, the Milton Inn, Linwood's and Pierpont, will prepare their specialties.

Chef Allison Dugdale, of Foster's in Fells Point, and Debra Rollins, owner of Art of Food Catering, are co-chairing Baltimore's participation in Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation, a nationwide effort to fight hunger.

Tickets are $35, and every penny goes directly to hunger relief agencies such as Baltimore recipients Second Helping and the Salvation Army's Next Step educational program. Where else could you go and taste foods from 30 restaurants and wines from around the country for $35?

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Art Blooms at the Walters is an absolutely delightful idea for a fund-raiser. Local garden clubs are creating floral arrangements that interpret a work of art. This three-day event, sponsored by the museum's women's committee, will begin tomorrow with a preview party in the fabulous Renaissance Court of the Walters from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Besides the floral artwork, there's a gourmet dinner and auction items.

If you'd like to attend the party, $50 a person, you can call (410) 547-9001 this weekend and leave a message, and someone will call you tomorrow. Art Blooms continues at the Walters Tuesday and Wednesday.

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