Horsemen nix commingling plan

March 31, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Commingling pools between racetracks in different states is the wave of the future.

But, so far, Maryland's thoroughbred tracks have been thwarted in their attempt to export their races, other than major stakes such as the Preakness, outside the state.

The latest try, with Lincoln Greyhound Park -- formerly Lincoln Downs thoroughbred track -- in Lincoln, R.I., was aborted last week after the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association gave thumbs down to the proposal.

Last year, Delaware Park wanted to initiate commingled pools on Maryland races, but couldn't get the necessary legislation passed through the Delaware General Assembly.

"We've been aggressive in trying to get tracks all over the country to commingle with us," said Jim Mango, vice president of operations and general manager at Pimlico and Laurel race courses.

"Remember, we are competing with tracks in New York, California and Florida. We offer a little better deal, financially, than they do to create interest. So far, we have had five tracks show interest. Three have said they are coming on board later this year. The first to sign with us would have been the Lincoln dog track, but possibly, another track will sign with us in about a week."

Commingling is when an out-of-state track sends its wagers into the host track's betting pools, "strictly to determine the payoffs," Mango said. The money would not be considered in the host track's handle.

Normally, the out-of-state tracks have small betting pools, so commingling with the host track gives bettors at the out-of-state facility more realistic payoffs. "It also creates a larger pool at the host track, which also results in better payoffs," Mango said.

The MTHA rejected the Lincoln arrangement because of federal laws that require approval from track officials, plus horsemen's associations and racing commissions, located within 60 miles of any of the commingling tracks. Lincoln is approximately 40 miles from Suffolk Downs, which is near Boston.

"Lincoln didn't have all the necessary consents and the matter between themselves and Suffolk Downs is going to be decided in court," said Alan Foreman, counsel representing the MTHA. "We're also not sure if it is in the best interest of a thoroughbred track [such as Pimlico] to send it's signal to a dog track when that track is located in the same marketing area as a thoroughbred facility [Suffolk]."

Mango said he understands the MTHA's position. "If the next track we get is in Idaho, then we won't have any problem," he said.

NOTES: Ameri Valay, with Mike Luzzi up, worked six furlongs in 1 minute, 12 1/5 seconds at Laurel recently in preparation for Saturday's Deputed Testamony Stakes. "He worked super," said trainer King Leatherbury. A possible scenario for the colt is the Deputed Testamony, followed by the Federico Tesio Stakes on April 25 and then the Preakness. . . . Ameri Valay could face Surely Six, runner-up by a nose in the Cherry Hill Mile, in the Tesio. . . . Pie In Your Eye, the Cherry Hill Mile winner, "will have at least three weeks off" before he runs again, said his trainer Charlie Peoples. Peoples was noncommittal about the spot. "It's up to the horse's owners, Bayard Sharp and his son-in-law, Will Farish," Peoples said. . . . Funeral services for longtime Maryland trainer Joe Considine will be held in Boston later this week. Considine, 77, died at his home in Laurel last weekend. . He trained many top stakes horses, including Maryland-bred champion Leematt, whom he developed for local owner-breeder Oliver Goldsmith.

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