Poor Jimmy's closer than the real thing Site gets handle on harness fans

July 04, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Poor Jimmy's is now becoming Rich Jimmy's for the state's harness racing industry.

But followers of flat racing have not been overly impressed with daily off-track betting figures from the Cecil County restaurant.

And for good reason.

On many days the harness horses are outhandling the thoroughbreds.

For example, last Friday about $31,000 was bet on flat horses at Poor Jimmy's. The night before $41,500 was bet on standardbreds.

The reason?

"It's the old Brandywine [Pa.] Raceway crowd," said Ted Snell, president of Rosecroft/Delmarva. That southern Pennsylvania plant closed several years ago and those fans had no place to go other than Garden State Park or Dover Downs.

"We're getting a crowd from southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wilmington [Del.] that find it a heck of a lot closer to drive to Poor Jimmy's instead of Garden State Park," Snell said.

He added that originally the harness handle at the North East OTB was "not exciting. But now we've gone from about 50 to 400 fans [daily] and we're averaging about $34,000 a night. That's better than the $31,000 average that we handle at the Cracked Claw [near Frederick]."

Maryland's OTB system is still in its infancy. Preliminary results show:

* Cracked Claw -- a thoroughbred bonanza, but only fair harness business.

* Poor Jimmy's -- only fair thoroughbred business, but fast becoming a harness hotbed.

What's a minranshe nanbri?

When local filly Jacody won the Grade II Post-Deb Stakes at Monmouth Park last weekend, it brought more than a little attention to her Baltimore owners, the Minranshe Nanbri Stables.

What does that mean?

Explained Donna Donovan, wife of the filly's trainer, Bill Donovan: "We own the filly in partnership with an old neighbor of ours, Arnold Mekeliesky. He is an accountant, who lives in Randallstown. When he expressed interest in buying a horse, Bill bought him a yearling filly named Jacolina for $15,000. She was a hard-hitting mare and ended up earning over $100,000 and placed in a stakes at Delaware Park.

"Arnold was looking for a stable name, so we named the outfit after his five children -- Mindy, Randy, Shelley, Nancy and Brian."

When Jacolina was retired, the Donovans and Mekeliesky bred her to the Donovans' dream horse, Lost Code.

Jacody is the first foal from the mating.

The partnership owns two full siblings -- a 2-year-old filly named Code Operator, who should run in Maryland later this summer, and a yearling colt, who will be consigned to the Keeneland (Ky.) Fall Sale.

Next stop for Jacody? The Monmouth Oaks. It's the same stakes double that Donovan pulled off last year with Harriet Finkelstein's Diamond Duo.

Donovan compares Jacody favorably with that filly, who is now retired and in foal to Dixieland Band.

Steinbrenner in Baltimore

AmTote International, the pari-mutuel supply company based in Hunt Valley that services all Maryland tracks with its betting equipment, holds its annual convention in Baltimore this week and has come up with quite a list of speakers.

* George Steinbrenner, who recently returned as principal owner of the New York Yankees after a 19-month suspension.

* Guy Snowden, chairman and chief executive officer of GTECH, which recently acquired AmTote and also supplies equipment to Maryland's lottery and keno systems.

* Joe Gorajec, David Freeman and Don Price. They are the respective executive directors of the Indiana, Texas and Virginia racing commissions, all states that hope to open up new horse racing tracks.

From Epsom to Arlington

Wolf Prince, the Maryland-based 3-year-old who finished eighth in the English Derby, is to make his next start in the Round Table Handicap at Arlington Park on Saturday.

Michael Dickinson, who trains the horse at the Fair Hill Training Center in Cecil County, said the horse didn't like the soft ground at Epsom. "He didn't relax at all," Dickinson added. "There was a big crowd [about 200,000 people] and all the commotion unnerved him."

Future Maryland stakes stars?

When Tommy Kelly, recently voted into racing's Hall of Fame, judged the Maryland Horse Breeders' annual yearling show at the Timonium Fairgrounds last Sunday, many of his class winners had proven stakes connections.

Royal Silver, the grand champion owned by Jeanne Begg of Davidsonville, is a brother to multiple stakes-winning mare Silver Tango. The reserve champion, owned by Glennie Martin of Glyndon, is a brother to stakes-placed North Lord.

Begg is selling her prize-winning colt at the Eastern Fall Yearling Sale at Timonium in October.

Other class winners: a Chromite colt, who is a half-brother to stakes-placed Dr. Bryan, owned by Bob Manfuso and Katy Voss of West Friendship; a Cryptoclearance filly, who is the first foal of $500,000 earner Double Bunctious, owned by Dan Westland of Tracy's Landing; and a Northern Raja filly owned by Kevin Kellar of Glyndon.

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