When the management team at Timonium Race Course held a news conference Friday to announce that the State Fair is staying at its York Road location and that it will pour money into making improvements, Gerry Brewster, a member of the House of Delegates from Baltimore County's 9th District, was a noticeable presence.
Brewster is not only a member of the Fair's board of directors, h is on the planning, racing and executive committees and is no doubt being groomed to succeed F. Grove Miller as a future Timonium president.
Brewster would be following in the footsteps of his father, forme U.S. Senator Daniel B. Brewster, who also was president of the Fair board.
Brewster, who showed horses at Timonium as a kid and late rode in the Maryland Hunt Cup (he finished second on Balantic in 1986), is also becoming something of a spokesman for horsemen's rights.
He plans to promote legislation to keep Pimlico Race Cours open year-round as a training facility.
"Just from the point of geographic distribution, it makes sense t keep Pimlico open and close down Bowie [Training Center]," Brewster said. Horsemen at Bowie could be accommodated at Laurel, which is only about 10 miles away.
The Pimlico horsemen boycotted entries at Laurel two week ago to protest management's decision to shut down the Baltimore facility for four months starting Nov. 1.
Brewster will have a job on his hands. State law now require Bowie to be operated as a training facility and is closely guarded by a strong Prince George's County delegation led by State Sen. Leo Green.
know the political hurdles," Brewster said. "But the industry is in trouble and everything has got to be done to keep it from dying. There's got to be a way to come to a consensus on this."
Timonium is following the example of the Maryland mile track and paying $100 to every starter in a race. In England, this kind of payment is referred to as a "cartage fee." Timonium management is footing the bill and is not taking the money from the horsemen's purse account.
The track's general manager, Howard M. "Max" Mosner Jr., sai the board's planning committee surveyed about 1,500 fair-goers last year. About a third of the fair's 600,000 customers said they primarily come to Timonium to go to the horse races. Mosner also learned that about 90 percent of his clientele comes from the Baltimore area, specifically Baltimore, Harford and Carroll counties.
Timothy Capps, vice president of racing at Laurel and Pimlico, said part of the reason Maryland is a leader in exporting its races out of state is that "we are price competitive.
"We are like Wal-Mart," he said. "New York tracks are lik Bloomingdale's or Tiffany's. They [the New York Racing Association] are good at selling individual stakes, but not entire cards."
Capps said he is certain that the way to be successful in th competitive commingling market is too reach as wide a market as possible. Even undercutting the price of New York cards by $1,000 a day is a significant selling point to Delaware Park and similar small tracks that are dependent on simulcasting to stay in business.
When Pimlico opens Sept. 10, the Maryland races will b simulcast daily to eight out-of-state tracks plus about 45 Las Vegas casinos.
Many racing executives are irked that the NYRA is no supporting the National Pic-6, which is being instituted Sept. 12 at about 20 tracks nationwide.
The Pic-6 will consist of six stakes races from different tracks ru in a one-hour time frame from 5 to 6 p.m. with post times about seven minutes apart.
The show will be telecast from a public television studio i Harrisburg, Pa. One host will be Steve Ford, a Turfway Park official and son of former President Gerald Ford.
He said it
Prominent Monkton horse owner S. Bonsal White writes that a quote in last Sunday's Notebook attributed to Patrick Henry actually was said by Benjamin Franklin.
It was Franklin who said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Track operator Joe De Francis used the quote, which he attributed to Henry, during the Pimlico trainers' strike to suggest that his management team and Pimlico horsemen must work together.
"Maybe I should have said, 'A penny saved is a penny earned,' " De Francis said.