All bets are on: OTB site approved

April 29, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

John "Pappy" Poole is the state's first off-track betting winner.

His 16-month battle to open Maryland's first OTB parlor culminated in victory when the Maryland Racing Commission approved the operation via a telephone vote yesterday.

Poole, owner of the Cracked Claw restaurant in Urbana, said: "If we can get enough equipment in here, we hope to be hooked up and running Friday. We finally got it done."

Sales counters are already in place at the site.

The parlor will open a half-hour before post time at the originating Maryland track and carry all the action that is offered at Pimlico, Laurel and Rosecroft, including simulcasts.

The Cracked Claw parking lot will accommodate 360 automobiles, and the parlor will be separate from the restaurant, which is in an adjoining room.

"This will have nothing to do with the dining room," said Poole. "We don't want to interfere with our dinner customers."

Poole said he wants to open tomorrow to get some experience for the clerks before an anticipated huge day Saturday, when the Kentucky Derby will be featured. Some clerks are still in training.

Opponents were concerned about crime, traffic and the site, which is adjacent to the planned Urbana High School. The racing commission's approval was granted with stipulations that the Cracked Claw provide adequate security and keep unaccompanied minors from the betting area.

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