Cross-breed simulcasting at Maryland harness and thoroughbred tracks is a step closer to reality.
Managements of the tracks reached an agreement yesterday on how operational and logistical details will be worked out during the proposed inter-track experiment.
Under the agreement, Laurel will operate Rosecroft and Delmarva raceways during the afternoons when thoroughbred VTC races are televised there.
"We'll operate those plants in much the same way we currently run Pimlico as a simulcast center," said Joe De Francis, president of Laurel-Pimlico.
In turn, Rosecroft will manage operations at Laurel and Pimlico during nightly harness simulcasts.
However, in such areas as food and cleaning services, each track will still be responsible for its own facilities.
In each case, food service companies such as Maryland Turf Caterers at Laurel-Pimlico and Harry M. Stevens Co. at Rosecroft-Delmarva will employ two shifts to work during the hours of operation.
Thoroughbred racing will be conducted from 12:30-6:15 p.m. and harness racing from 7:30-11:30 p.m.
The inter-track experiment will not start until after the thoroughbred plants convert their totalisator equipment to the new Spectrum system designed by AmTote International, Inc. That system has already been installed at the harness facilities and will be installed at Laurel and Pimlico at the end of the month.
"How quickly we proceed after that depends on two things," De Francis said.
"They are: How smooth our transition is to the Spectrum system and when we can go ahead with multiple signal simulcasting."
Keno introduced at Rosecroft
The introduction of keno did little to dissuade bettors from wagering on the harness races last night at Rosecroft Raceway, according to track president Ted Snell.
"We only have one [keno] machine here, and there have been long lines, but the people aren't betting much," Snell said. Through 9:30 p.m., about $1,400 had been bet on keno and he estimated that by the end of the card the amount would be between $2,000 and $2,500.
"I think most people are playing for the novelty of it," Snell added. "Maybe by this weekend, when we have a machine in our dining room and another one upstairs on the third floor, the business will pick up."
Snell said betting last night was brisk on the races, especially the 14 races being simulcast from The Meadowlands. "I think we are going to have one of our best Wednesdays ever with a shot at a $500,000 handle," he said.