Computer woes foil Pimlico bettors

September 14, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

A computer in the mutuels room at Pimlico Race Course malfunctioned yesterday and prevented fans from cashing their tickets after the eighth race.

Winning prices could not be calculated or posted in the last four races, although the rest of the card, including the simulcast of the Molson Million from Woodbine Race Course, was run as scheduled and fans still bet on them.

General manager Jim Mango estimated that the track is holding about $250,000 of the fans' money. Winning tickets should be able to be redeemed tomorrow when the track reopens.

The problem occurred after the eighth race when a computer line merging into the main pool at Pimlico from a site at Garden State Park did not kick in.

"The collator froze and then the entire system stalled," said Pimlico track operator Joe De Francis. "We don't know if the problem is just the one collator or the whole mainframe [main computer]."

Technicians from AmTote International Inc., which provides and services the equipment, were still working late last night to correct the problem.

Mango said that if the problem is not solved "the best technicians in the world will be here today to get it fixed."

By the eighth race, a total of $833,499 had been bet at Pimlico and the Laurel simulcast center.

Yesterday's snafu added to De Francis' recent problems. He is currently involved in a dispute with Pimlico horsemen who are protesting his plans to shut down the plant for training on Nov. 1. De Francis also is embroiled in a well-publicized and bitter lawsuit with his partners, Bob and Tom Manfuso.

De Francis was immediately on the scene yesterday, instructing in-house TV personality Kim Goodwin and track announcer Dave Rodman to explain the situation to the fans. Security personnel handed out free admission vouchers to fans as they left the track and the Laurel simulcast center.

The computer problems overshadowed the stunning upset by Benburb and Elated Guy over A.P. Indy, Alydeed and Technology in the Molson Million. At Woodbine, Benburb paid $65 to win and the 6-3 exacta returned $535.

Mango said little money was bet on the Molson Million at Pimlico.

In the Pimlico feature, 7-2 second choice Storm Flight defeated 9-5 favorite Secret Odds by eight lengths in the Vanlandingham Stakes at a mile on the turf.

The 2-year-old Storm Bird gelding is owned by Richard Kirstein and Bob Smith, contractors from the Washington, D.C., area, and is trained by Carlos Garcia.

Smith raised the horse at his 600-acre Heronwood Farm in Middleburg, Va. The partners plan to run him Oct. 18 in the Laurel Futurity.

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