Simulcasts to brighten Wednesdays Dark-day wagering to debut June 30 Laurel notebook

June 20, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Wednesdays won't be so dark anymore for Maryland thoroughbred racing fans.

Beginning June 30, Laurel Race Course will offer full-carcommingled simulcast wagering every Wednesday from Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, Churchill Downs and Hollywood Park.

It will be the first time in the history of Maryland racing thasimulcast wagering has been scheduled on a dark day.

The simulcast wagering will also be available at PimlicoRosecroft, Delmarva and the two off-track locations -- the Cracked Claw restaurant in Urbana and Poor Jimmy's restaurant in North East.

Laurel/Pimlico general manager Jim Mango said yesterday tracofficials have been discussing the Wednesday simulcast move for the past two months during staff meetings.

"A lot of our patrons follow one track every day and they won'feel chopped off now on Wednesday," said Mango. "Many of our patrons requested this."

Mango said the move is a costly one but "we obviously think it ia good business decision."

It is another attempt to pump some life into Maryland racingwhich Mango admitted yesterday was still having problems because of a lack of horses.

There has been some talk around the Maryland tracks thaofficials might decide to offer only four days of live racing instead of five.

Mango said: "A lot of people are saying that is our next move buif Mr. [Joe] De Francis [president of Laurel/Pimlico] has discussed it with anybody, I'm not aware of it."

The general manager said track officials would have to go to thhorsemen and carefully analyze the situation before making any move on reducing live racing to four days.

"It's not impossible," said Mango. "Nothing's impossible the wathings have been going lately."

Sunny Sunrise takes Budweiser

And now after a 365-day wait, Sunny Sunrise is No. 1 in the Baltimore Budweiser Breeders' Cup at Laurel Race Course.

The 6-year-old chestnut gelding broke on top and was neveovertaken yesterday on the way to a win by a head in the featured ninth race.

Sunny Sunrise did have to hold off a late bid by Snappy Landinfor the victory that was even sweeter because he finished second last year to Excellent Tipper, who set a track record of 1:47 3/5 for 1 1/8 miles at Laurel.

A 2-1 choice, Sunny Sunrise has now won more than $1 milliofor owners Tom and Harry Meyerhoff. He was timed yesterday in 1:48 4/5.

"He's a millionaire now," said trainer Grover "Bud" Delp. "This is good horse. He's a gelding, so if he stays healthy, Sunny Sunrise could be around for a few more years."

Jockey Mark Johnston said: "He broke well and never lookeback. I was surprised no one came after us sooner."

Baron Mathew was third and defending champion ExcellenTipper was fourth.

"He didn't run his race today," said jockey Herb McCauley oExcellent Tipper. "The horse was fine in the paddock. He warmed up with no breathing problem."

Lewis recovering

Charlie Lewis, a veteran trainer of 50 years, is mending nicely after a June 12 accident at Laurel in which his shoulder was injured by a runaway horse.

Lewis, 75, lives in Ruxton and has been associated with horsracing since he was 9 years old.

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