The live racing card at a Maryland thoroughbred track is apparently no longer a strong enough incentive to entice bettors to wager solely on its in-state product.
Yesterday when no full card simulcasts from out-of-state tracks were offered at Pimlico Race Course and at six other betting outlets in the state, handle on the Maryland base card dropped 16 percent from a year ago when betting on the Pimlico program was offered at only two locations.
Pimlico/Laurel operator Joe De Francis said that the only out-of-state signals available yesterday were from Philadelphia Park and Finger Lakes. "We didn't want to take Finger Lakes and we thought we wouldn't take Philadelphia Park for just one day a week. But, now, I'd say we're looking for a signal," he said.
Most major tracks that simulcast into Pimlico/Laurel on a regular basis are dark on Tuesday. The most popular Tuesday signal comes from Churchill Downs, but that track doesn't begin its fall meet until Nov. 2.
Pimlico/Laurel operates on Tuesday because it is the biggest day of the week for exporting its signal to other locations throughout the nation.
Yesterday the in-state handle on the Maryland base card amounted to $919,609, a 16-percent drop from the $1,115,252 bet last year. However, $450,599 was bet out-of-state on the Pimlico card, making the gross handle $1,370,208, up a total of $254,956 from 1992.
Timonium experienced the same kind of pattern at its recently completed 10-day meet. The track offered no full-card out-of-state simulcasts and business there reached a 10-year low, off 20 percent from 1992.