Pimlico cancels 5 races because of power outage

August 13, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

A mid-afternoon power failure forced management at Pimlico Race Course to curtail the live card yesterday after the fourth race, losing the bulk of its daily betting handle and costing horsemen $80,000 in purses from the cancellation of five live races.

The outage occurred when two transformers, one at the Hayward Avenue stable gate and the other situated off the track on Belvedere Avenue, shut down.

Enough electricity stayed on to keep some lighting and betting windows open, but all power to Pimlico's television system was lost.

The track was unable to provide any television coverage of its live card, meaning the Pimlico signal could not be sent to Maryland's seven other betting outlets or to out-of-state sites that take wagers on the Pimlico races. In addition, the outage meant the stewards lost use of the film patrol, which is studied before a race is declared official.

Track management continued to simulcast races from out-of-state tracks on a limited number of television monitors at Pimlico for about an hour until officials from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. decided it was too risky and could cause a complete blow-out of the entire electrical system.

The outage occurred when horses were in the paddock being saddled for the fifth race.

Track spokesman Tim Capps said the power failure did not affect the tracks' pari-mutuel hub at Laurel Race Course or any of the state's other betting outlets, which continued to operate as usual, but without the Pimlico card.

Through the fourth race, the Maryland outlets had handled $290,821.

Simulcasts of Rosecroft and Delmarva harness races at the Pimlico site were canceled last night.

Capps said Pimlico will open on schedule today.

The feature is the $50,000 Basil Hall Stakes for older horses at five furlongs on the turf. Roman Stakes winner Lazy Luke, who rallied to finish fourth in his last start in the Grade II Frank J. De Francis Dash, is the probable favorite.

The Maryland outlets will take betting on the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar through the Arlington International Racecourse simulcast card as well as offering regularly-scheduled out-of-state simulcasts and the National Best Seven.

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