Mooney due to take over as GM Delaware Park head likely to be named tomorrow Laurel notebook

June 30, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Is "Mr. Delaware Park" going to manage Maryland's thoroughbred tracks?

Joe De Francis, operator of Laurel/Pimlico, plans to hold a news conference tomorrow, and the main topic is expected to be the naming of John E. Mooney, current Delaware Park general manager, to the post of senior vice president and GM of Laurel/Pimlico.

However, William Rickman, owner of Delaware Park, saiyesterday that Mooney hasn't resigned yet.

"The first time I heard about it was when I read it [in The Sun] on Sunday. My son [Bill Rickman Jr.] is up there talking to him today. But I don't know if he [Mooney] will be [at Laurel] tomorrow. It might be a week or two weeks.

"He's been a good employee and if that is what he's going to do, I wish him well. You know, he's been 'Mr. Delaware Park.' But we have a lot of good employees and we'll have someone to take his place. I can't blame him if he is going to go. You're expanding [in Maryland] and we're not. But, then again, he could be getting into a hornets' nest."

Mooney, who has been Delaware Park GM since 1985, did not return phone calls. His wife said yesterday that he is "out of town until Thursday."

In a related move, current Laurel/Pimlico GM Jim Mango is assuming a new full-time role as senior vice president of mutuels and development, opening up the GM job.

Mooney's father, John J. Mooney, was longtime GM and president of the Ontario Jockey Club and from 1980 to 1981 served a stormy tenure as Laurel GM when the track was owned by John D. Schapiro.

John Mooney's grandfather, J. P. Mooney, was a jockey and rode the legendary Black Gold, who was the subject of a best-selling children's book, to a Kentucky Derby victory in 1924.

At tomorrow's news conference De Francis also may announce that he is hiring bloodstock agent Glen Petty, a former executive secretary of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, as an aide in his bid to get approval to build a Virginia track.

The list of nominees for the revamped Laurel Turf Festival in October also is to be released. Star of Cozzene, Lure, Alydeed and Ibero are among the horses nominated to the $600,000 International Mile. Sea Hero, Fraise and Bull Inthe Heather are among the horses in the $200,000 Laurel Turf Cup.

Business up 16.6 percent

After the first 15 days of the Laurel meet, the total wagered by Maryland bettors at all of the state's wagering outlets increased 16.6 percent over last year, track officials said. About $3.4 million more has been bet on thoroughbred races, both the live in-state product and the full-card, out-of-state simulcasts, than during the same period in 1992.

Starting tomorrow, daily betting statistics released by the track are expected to show an estimated in-state handle on the full card out-of-state simulcasts. Until now, such figures have been omitted because simulcasts from Hollywood Park are not concluded until about 9 p.m., long after track public relations personnel have gone for the day.

"What has happened is that the figures that have been printe are misleading," De Francis said. "But we've now set up a method that will come very close to approximating what the daily simulcast figure will be."

For the first five months of the year, handle on Maryland's liv races was off 12 percent. But since the introduction of the full-card simulcasts, inter-track wagering and the opening of the two off-track betting parlors, business has improved nearly 30 percent with the help of the expanded menus.

"So far, the new programs are working. Union employees ar making more money and more money is going into the horsemen's purse account," De Francis said. "But we have yet to fully determine how it is impacting our [management] bottom line since our costs have escalated, too."

Yesterday, Maryland's nine-race card netted $833,743 in bets from inside the state and $633,380 from out-of-state commingling sites for a total handle of $1,467,123.

Added to the in-state wagering figure is the $358,722 wagered at the Maryland sites on races from Monmouth Park and Yonkers Raceway. That amount totals $1,192,465, up 10 percent from the same period in 1992.

Tomorrow, the out-of-state simulcast handle is expected t increase since bets are to be taken on races at a number of other tracks, including Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Hollywood Park.

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