Pimlico stabling area well stocked for winter

November 19, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Both sides of the Pimlico Race Course stabling area likely will stay open for training this winter.

Laurel/Pimlico track operator Joe De Francis said yesterday that "there are enough horses on the grounds to warrant keeping both sides open at least through Jan. 1. Then we will see where we go from there. The reason we wanted to shut the barn area down last year is that we didn't have enough horses to fill the stalls. But Lenny Hale [vice president of racing] and John Mooney [general manager] have done a good job recruiting outfits."

Hale said there are about 150 more horses stabled at the Maryland tracks this year than in 1992 "and it seems Maryland horsemen have more horses running now than they did a year ago. For example, Henry Clark, who usually turns his horses out for the winter, plans to keep racing them, and Dick Small will keep a larger contingent of his horses racing instead of sending them to the Carolinas."

Even though trainer Vinnie Blengs has taken the bulk of his large string to Florida, "he is leaving about a dozen horses here with Hamilton Smith," Hale said. "We also have Tim Ritchey coming in from Delaware Park to help fill the void." He added that trainer Clint Thrasher from New England and Michael Erb from Finger Lakes also will be new winter arrivals "and we're talking to others."

Some trainers stabled in older barns at Pimlico might be asked to move to the Pimlico Avenue area while their stables are refurbished, Hale said. "And there is the possibility we will raze a couple more of the older barns like we did last year with Barn F," he said. "But that is still under discussion."

Last year when management announced it was closing the Pimlico barn area for the winter, horsemen staged a two-day boycott of entries and the move became a major issue between horsemen's groups and management. It was resolved after a couple of months of negotiations with the Pimlico Avenue side staying open.

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