Poor Jimmy's Family Restaurant in Cecil County opened as the state's second off-track betting outlet yesterday, and now Pimlico-Laurel management wants to spread the word.
"It ran smoothly," said Jim Mango, senior vice president of the Maryland tracks who led a contingent of officials visiting the site. "Our crews were up all night getting the place open, but we didn't advertise it at all so we didn't expect many people.
"Once the word gets out, that place is going to be a gangbuster. It took The Cracked Claw a good couple of weeks to get going. Word of mouth is the best vehicle."
When The Cracked Claw opened in Frederick County two days beforethe Kentucky Derby, its first handle was $15,594. For the Derby two days later, that figure had more than doubled to $33,959. Poor Jimmy's exceeded the first-day total with $17,010 in its maiden venture.
"Our main concern was to get things working properly," said Mango. "Now we've got to get to the people in Northeast Maryland and the Wilmington area. So, we'll launch an ad campaign in the next couple of days."
The expectations are that Poor Jimmy's will equal -- and perhaps exceed -- the intake from The Cracked Claw. The handle there during tomorrow's Belmont Stakes will be a good early barometer.
Mango said that the Cecil County site will handle action from Rosecroft Raceway and other harness tracks despite the collapse of the inter-tracking agreement between the Maryland thoroughbred and harness industries earlier this week.
"This has nothing to do with intertracking," he said. "The contractwith Poor Jimmy's is totally separate."
* Longtime Maryland jockey Danny Wright has retired from riding and has accepted a position as a state steward at Atlantic City Race Course. The 46-year-old Baltimore-area native registered more than 2,000 victories during a riding career that began in 1968. Among his better-known mounts were Iron Derby, Caesar's Wish and Cormorant.
A state wrestling champion in high school, Wright was known for his professionalism and dedication.
NOTES: Leading rider Edgar Prado is expected to be sidelined for a month with a fractured ankle. Prado's agent, Steve Rushing, is recovering from minor surgery. . . . Stewards fined jockey Patrick Cooney $100 for leaving the course, then failing to re-enter where he had left on Strong Prospect in the ninth race at Fair Hill on Monday. . . . Trainer Michael Rea has been granted a stay on appeal of a stewards' ruling for a 15-day suspension. The charge is that a Rea-trained horse, Slickem, tested positive for the drug methocarbamol and/or a derivative after finishing second in the ninth race at Pimlico on May 21.