Panel hears details of inter-track betting HORSE RACING

March 11, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Maryland racetrack operators mapped out the logistics of inter-track wagering and expansion into multiple-signal simulcasting for members of the state racing commission yesterday.

The program will start with or without acceptance of contract modifications by union employees at the thoroughbred tracks, said Laurel-Pimlico general manager Jim Mango.

The commission -- which has approved the inter-track wagering and simulcasting programs -- had Mango discuss its progress at the commission's regular monthly meeting yesterday.

Mango outlined the following objectives:

* April 1 is the target date for the start of an experimental 90-day inter-track wagering program between the state's thoroughbred and harness tracks. Under the plan, Rosecroft Raceway will become an afternoon simulcast facility for Pimlico thoroughbred races. At night Laurel and Pimlico will be open to take bets on televised harness races from Rosecroft. It is still undecided when an inter-tracking program will start at Delmarva Downs near Ocean City. There was some discussion that Rosecroft might simulcast its races exclusively into Laurel at first and then begin at Pimlico two weeks later.

* On April 6, the outlets will expand their menues and take full-card simulcasts from out-of-state tracks.

"The plan is for the thoroughbred tracks to run their live card plus three signals," Mango said.

Laurel-Pimlico is negotiating with the New York Racing Association to take its races on a year-round basis. "They are the most powerful East Coast signal and something I would think we'd want to offer our fans," Mango added.

Other signals under consideration are the remainder of the Oaklawn meet; the Keeneland spring races, followed by Arlington Park simulcasts when Keeneland is over, and Santa Anita/Hollywood Park.

Mango said that the thoroughbred tracks and the leadership of Local 27 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents mutuel employees, have reached an agreement concerning salary and hours that UFCW members will work when the multiple signal program starts. The contract modifications are to be voted on by the membership by March 26.

"But whether or not the union votes for or against the modifications, we will start the multiple signals," Mango said. "This is not a threat. There is simply nothing else we can do."

Under the proposal, clerks would take bets on the live races plus all of the out-of-state simulcasts at the same window. But if the proposal is voted down, there will be separate betting windows for each out-of-state simulcast.

UFCW employees at the harness tracks have already voted to take unlimited bets on the out-of-state cards.

Mango said that the thoroughbred tracks will operate Rosecroft on a lease-type agreement during the day and that the harness tracks will have the same sort of arrangement with Laurel-Pimlico at night.

At 5:30 p.m., Rosecroft management will assume control of the parking lots and then take over the admission booths between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Betting on harness races will start at 7 p.m. Wagering on thoroughbred simulcasts will stop at 7:15 p.m.

In case of data line breakdowns from the out-of-state tracks, the commission adopted these regulations:

* Refunds will be given to fans on any pool if the patrons are given sufficient notice -- between two to three minutes -- before a race has started.

* If sufficient notice is not given, the Maryland tracks will pay host track prices for all applicable pools.

In other developments yesterday, John "Pappy" Poole, owner of the Cracked Claw Restaurant, signed a contract with the tracks to take the thoroughbred and harness signals at his facility in Urbana. The site is expected to become the state's first off-track betting parlor.

Poole said he will submit an application today to the Maryland Racing Commission for approval of an OTB license.

Longtime commission member Eric Frederick and Frank Hopkins, who was just named last year, have been reappointed to new four-year terms on the commission by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

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