Shore restaurant seeking OTB Cambridge could get state's 3rd parlor HORSE RACING

June 26, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

A restaurant in Cambridge could be the site of Maryland's third off-track betting parlor.

Gregory and Charlene Burton, owner-operators of the Shoals Restaurant and Quality Inn in the Eastern Shore town, submitted by mail their application for licensing approval yesterday to the Maryland Racing Commission.

But there could be a couple of problems.

According to Jim Mango, senior vice president and general manager of Laurel/Pimlico, the Burtons have not yet signed a contract with the thoroughbred tracks to take the flat racing signal, although they have signed an agreement with harness operators, Colt Enterprises, Ltd.

"We're close but haven't signed with them yet," Mango said. But he added that he didn't anticipate any contractual problems.

Mango visited the site yesterday and thought it might be too small.

But Ted Snell, president of the Rosecroft-Delmarva harness plants, said that he regards the Burtons' site as ideal for an OTB parlor.

"They have a first-rate dining room that seats 65 to 70 people, a lounge that holds another 40 people and then a much larger banquet-conference room that can accommodate about 250 people," Snell said. "It's a beautiful facility, located on a major highway [Route 50] and plenty big enough for the Cambridge area."

Charlene Burton said yesterday that the Cambridge City Council and the Dorchester County zoning board have approved the project.

"We've received quite a bit of publicity locally and haven't had any negative feedback," Burton said.

Racing commission chairman John H. "Jack" Mosner Jr. said it should take the commission about three weeks to perform background checks on the Burtons and to look at their business plan and finances.

The Burtons are standardbred horse owners and have been fingerprinted and undergone background checks, Snell said.

After the investigations, a date for a public hearing in the Cambridge area, most likely at the restaurant itself, will be set.

The facility could operate strictly as a harness OTB site. But Mosner said all potential operations should function as joint thoroughbred/harness ventures.

Barring any problems, the Cambridge parlor could be open by the end of July.

It will be the third OTB outlet to open in three months. The Cracked Claw near Frederick opened in late April followed by Poor Jimmy's Family Restaurant near Elkton in early June.

The Cracked Claw has been a resounding success, handling about twice the business of its Cecil County counterpart.

Steeplechase rough riders

Three jump jockeys have either been fined or suspended for rides in hurdle events at Laurel last Sunday.

Mike Traurig was suspended two steeplechase days and fined $500 for grabbing another jockey's whip during last Sunday's first race.

John Banahan was fined $500 for attempting to take his whip dTC back from Traurig and for trying to force that jockey away from him.

Patrol judge Bob Flournoy reported that he had seen both jockeys pushing each other going into the far turn on one lap of the 2 1/4 -mile race.

A third jump jockey, Richard Boucher, was suspended three days for failing to keep a straight course during the running of the second race.

The Laurel stewards said that Boucher didn't make sufficient effort to prevent his mount, Sir Arthur, from dropping in going into the far turn and impeded horses Runaway Romance and Top Hat Ensign.

De Francis testifies

Laurel/Pimlico operator Joe De Francis testified yesterday before a congressional subcommittee on Native American Affairs about limiting Indian gaming casinos.

De Francis, chairman of the legislative committee of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, spoke on behalf of that group.

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