Racing commission OKs dates Ratification due at Dec. 13 meeting

November 13, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

The Maryland Racing Commission has approved the requested dates of all the state's tracks for 1994 and will ratify them at its next meeting Dec. 13.

All that is required to finalize the schedule is a hearing regarding Rosecroft Raceway's desire to operate live racing for 260 nights, an increase of 22 from this year.

No opposition is expected to surface to the harness track's request, and the hearing will probably be a formality.

It can be held at any time next year up to the date of the 238th racing day that Rosecroft used in 1993, according to Ken Schertle, the commission's executive secretary.

"No one ever showed up to oppose in the old days when a flat track had such a request," said Schertle.

The commission was to have convened Wednesday at Timonium to address the dates in a public forum, but the lack of a quorum canceled that session. Only four commissioners were present.

Later, a fifth appeared to produce the necessary number to vote, and two more commissioners were contacted by phone.

The state's other harness entity, Delmarva Downs, has a longer span (April 1 through Sept. 15) in which to place its 75 dates and probably will open later than usual.

Marlboro again will have two days of racing in the fall, but the dates will be determined by the absence of live action at the major tracks.

OTB outlet No. 4

The Riverboat Restaurant -- located on a pier in the Potomac River opposite Colonial Beach, Va. -- will become Maryland's fourth off-track betting outlet early next year.

Owner Tom Flanagan signed the agreement yesterday with Laurel-Pimlico operator Joe De Francis. It is subject to approval by the Maryland Racing Commission.

The restaurant, in Charles County, is on a site where slot machines flourished in the 1940s and '50s and, said Flanagan, and is a leading seller of the state's keno game.

"We were bombarded with calls one day when people thought we were already open," said Flanagan. "It's hard to judge how we'll do as an OTB parlor, but I expect us to be right behind The Cracked Claw [the leading OTB site]."

Track management will operate the betting area at the site, Flanagan the restaurant portion.

Northern Dancer Stakes

With Chip's Dancer out because of an injury, Pescagani and P. J. Higgins are expected to draw the most play from the bettors in today's $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes.

Eight Maryland-bred 3-year-olds are entered in the 1 1/8 -mile affair, now a wide-open race.

Pescagani, with leading rider Edgar Prado named, is coming off an easy score in the $50,000 Japan Racing Association Stakes in which he beat two of the others running today, Take Heed (third) and Sunny Boca (fourth).

P. J. Higgins has been competing in tough company, running fifth to Awad in the Maryland Million Turf.

Chip's Dancer, a winner of four stakes this year, will not run

because of an abscess in his foot.

1994 SCHEDULE

The Maryland Racing Commission has approved the following racing dates for next year and will ratify them in December:

Laurel -- Jan. 1-Feb. 7; June 14-Aug. 8; Oct. 4-Dec. 31

Pimlico -- Feb. 8-March 28 (at Laurel); March 29-June 13; Aug. 9-26; Sept. 8-Oct. 3

Timonium -- Aug. 27-Sept. 5

Fair Hill -- Monday, May 30 and Sunday, Oct. 30, plus two days, to be determined

Marlboro -- Two fall dates to be determined

Rosecroft -- 260 nights from Jan. 1-Dec. 31

Delmarva -- 75 nights from April 1-Sept. 15

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