Manfusos' suit thrown out of courtMost claims must go to...

September 25, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

Manfusos' suit thrown out of court

Most claims must go to board, judge says

Joe De Francis has won the first round in the bitter legal battle for control among the owners of Maryland's two major thoroughbred tracks.

Baltimore City Circuit Court judge Ellen Hollander ruled yesterday that the Manfuso brothers, partners in the ownership of the two operations, must take the vast majority of the claims they made in a suit against De Francis to the board of directors of Pimlico and Laurel race courses for their consideration.

"Two claims, very narrow issues, remain," said Jim Gray, the attorney representing De Francis and Marty Jacobs, the vice president and general counsel of the two tracks.

They relate to the involvement of Jacobs and vice president Jim Mango in the Lone Star Jockey Club, one of four groups attempting to secure a license to build a track in Dallas.

"It has to do with allegations of breaking employment agreements," said Gray, referring to time Jacobs and Mango spent working on the Texas project for De Francis rather than at their duties in Maryland.

bTC "That will be tried, but I am confident we'll prevail," De Francis said.

Efforts to contact the Manfusos were unsuccessful and their attorney, Jim Ulwich would not speculate on whether they would continue to press the action until he had consulted with his clients.

"The judge decided that the Manfusos' claims with respect to the Texas situation would be permitted to go forward," Ulwich said. "However, the remaining claims would first have to be presented to the board of directors of Pimlico and Laurel before they could proceed."

Bob and Tom Manfuso filed the suit three days before the Kentucky Derby, alleging that De Francis used profits from Maryland tracks to underwrite lobbying efforts in Texas and corporate credit cards for personal expenses.

De Francis filed a counter suit a month later, asking for a judgment of $100 million against the Manfusos and challenging their motives in the stock agreement that allows one side to offer its shares for sale at any time after Oct. 1, 1993. That suit is still pending before the court.

"From my standpoint, this was a great success," De Francis said. "I hope this will end all this bickering. It has not been good for the industry."

Rosecroft expands wagering

Rosecroft Raceway will begin taking full-card simulcast wagering on the harness action at Garden State Park in Philadelphia on Oct. 1.

"We project that the simulcasting of Garden State's races here will mean an extra $5,000 a day for our horsemen's purse account," Rosecroft president Ted Snell said.

"This is based on our handling $90,000 to $100,000 a day on Garden State, which is right in line with the experience we had simulcasting the races from Delmarva Downs all summer."

Two races in Pic 6

The Maryland Sprint Handicap and the Maryland Million Oaks, both $100,000 races, will be the events from Pimlico in the second National Pic 6 wagering tomorrow.

They are scheduled as the first and fifth races in the Pic 6, the Sprint Handicap kicking off the exotic bet with a 5:08 p.m. post time.

Double triple canceled

The double triple was canceled yesterday after Proudly Crowned, a 50-to-1 shot, was scratched a few minutes before post time of the fifth race.

A new rule allows the stewards to take such action if a horse is scratched within five minutes of the scheduled start and they have determined that there are live double-triple tickets with that horse included.

Bettors with live tickets after the third race were paid a consolation of $24.60.

There were seven live tickets on the winning 1-11-9 combination in the fifth. The carry-over pool remained at $36,528.70.

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