Shore simulcasting falls flat

June 23, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Want to bet on the Laurel races at the beach?

Delmarva Downs, the harness track located near Ocean City that runs standardbred races four nights a week, opened for thoroughbred simulcasting action yesterday afternoon.

But few people seemed to know about it.

Dave Scheing, mutuels manager at the Worcester County plant, said 112 fans showed up and bet a total of $18,375. Of that amount, $8,674 was bet on the thoroughbred races from Laurel, far below the $50,000 daily average bet in 1989 when a similar simulcasting program operated between the thoroughbred and harness tracks during the summer.

The 1989 operation occurred when the late Frank De Francis ran the Maryland flat tracks and Mark Vogel owned Delmarva Downs. The program was discontinued but was revived yesterday under an interim inter-track agreement between the current operators of the state's thoroughbred and harness tracks.

Scheing said the amount was about what he expected "since the opening wasn't really promoted."

In addition to the Laurel races, the 10-race harness card from Yonkers Raceway was simulcast, as well as the thoroughbred card from Monmouth Park. "I thought mostly a thoroughbred crowd would show up," Scheing said. "But a lot of harness horsemen came. They bet about $5,700 on the Yonkers races, which was more than I expected."

Scheing's principal concern that the audio and totalisator systems interact smoothly with the main terminals at Laurel. He said that technically everything went fine, except that Daily Racing Forms were late.

Laurel/Pimlico operator Joe De Francis added: "Obviously no one knew it was open. Under the [ITW] deal, Rosecroft was supposed to get Delmarva up and running as fast they could, so we could take advantage of the tourist season. Now I've got to work with Ted Snell [president of Rosecroft-Delmarva Downs] and work out a promotions and advertising campaign."

Under the inter-track agreement, Delmarva management operates the track as a simulcast facility in the afternoons and receives a percentage of the thoroughbred handle.

Laurel/Pimlico simulcasts the Yonkers harness races on Tuesday afternoons, the Balmoral (Ill.) races on Friday afternoons and Foxboro (Mass.) races on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The state's harness and thoroughbred tracks and horsemen split their percentages from the betting revenues evenly. Yesterday, $27,186 was bet on the initial Yonkers card at Laurel/Pimlico.

A Capuano Brothers exacta

The public made the two-horse entry trained by Dale Capuano the favorite in the $28,000 Laurel feature yesterday, but it was Capuano's younger brother, Gary, who won the race with Ibex.

Ibex is not known primarily as a sprinter. He is probably known best for setting the pace against some of the nation's best older horses in the Pimlico Special. He tired after about a mile in the 1 3/16-mile race and finished fifth.

"He was so sharp and speed crazy in his last couple of races [going long] that I thought the best thing now would be to sprint him, to try to get him to relax," Gary Capuano said. "I knew in sprints he couldn't outrun horses like Hooliganisim or Speakerphone early."

Yesterday's race was the 6-year-old gelding's first sprint race of 1993. Gary Capuano's strategy worked.

His brother's speed horse, One Tuff Oop, set the early pace, pressed by Hooliganisim and Speakerphone. One Tuff Oop hung on with the best of the sprint specialists but succumbed to the late run by Ibex in the final furlong and finished second.

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