Derby, full-card wagering may keep bettors in line HORSE RACING

May 01, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

Pimlico officials are reminding bettors to wager early today, one of the biggest betting days of the year at the track.

With a large crowd anticipated for the Kentucky Derby and full-card, multi-signal wagering in use, lines are expected to be long at the windows.

"I think our regulars are already getting used to what's happening," said Pimlico senior vice president Jim Mango. "But all the new people who will be here will be exposed to it for the first time.

"With all the action going on, it's important to bet as early as possible. They have to watch and learn a little bit."

Because Churchill Downs is one of the sites on which multi-track wagering is based, there was no advance betting on the Derby.

Pimlico will begin wagering at 12:30 p.m., an hour after the first post time in Kentucky. Therefore, there will be no betting on Churchill's first two races.

Pimlico handled $1,696,959 Thursday, the opening day for action from Churchill, Hollywood Park and Freehold harness racing.

That compared with $1,153,666 on the corresponding day last year.

Mango said track officials will monitor the progress of the multi-signal wagering until after the Preakness, then consider adjustments.

"It's quite possible we might have a consolidated program," he said. "But this would produce a very large program and a lot of what we are doing is still live racing."

The need for extra programs is one of the fans' concerns with races running ever few minutes.

"We're tremendously pleased and highly optimistic with the early returns," said Mango. "How well the operation is running is my No. 1 battle. It's a complex thing and not without problems."

Awad, who is expected to be favored, is one of four Triple Crown nominees entered in the 28th running of the Woodlawn Stakes today.

A son of Caveat, Maryland-bred Awad finished fourth to Prairie Bayou in the Jim Beam Stakes.

Numerous Preakness starters have emerged from the 1 1/16-mile Woodlawn, including Dash For Dotty (eighth in last year's Preakness).

The race is named for the Preakness trophy, the Woodlawn Vase, and has a $75,000 guaranteed purse.

NOTES: The Cracked Claw opened yesterday as the state's first off-track betting outlet and handled $15,594. . . . Apprentice Austeberto Salazar rode four winners and Edgar Prado had three.

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