The Maryland racing scene will shift to Laurel Race Course tomorrow with commingling, off-track betting and purse increases expected to bring more revenues and more questions for the troubled industry.
Commingling is scheduled to begin in earnest by early next week when wagers from Las Vegas casinos will be blended into the Maryland pool by post time of each race.
Garden State Park and Delaware Park are joining the common pool Friday for the first test in the state of a concept that should appreciably raise daily handles.
"We just don't know how much of an effect this will have," said Jim Mango, general manager at Laurel and Pimlico. "It's the type of thing you play by ear and see what happens.
"Within the industry, adjustments have to be made to address the problem of a shortage of horseflesh. Commingling and OTB will regionalize the sport. The whole thing can work. We have to face the fact the circumstances are what they are."
Entire Maryland cards will now be simulcast to the New Jersey tracks and Delaware Park. Wagering information will be transmitted from those sites to the Maryland track to be merged with the on-track pool.