1 p.m. post to return on weekdays

June 28, 1995|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Laurel Park will revert to a 1 p.m. post time on weekdays starting next week, except on Fridays, when the track will continue to experiment with a 3 p.m. "twilight" post.

That's the likely scenario track operator Joe De Francis outlined last night to horsemen and that he said will officially be announced Friday.

The move is an effort to boost weekday business, which has fallen off since the 3 p.m. post was instituted at Laurel a few weeks ago.

The track, however, has instituted a "Happy Hour" promotion on Fridays that De Francis said has been a success and that he wants to continue until the Laurel meet ends July 23.

De Francis, who also approached the horsemen earlier this month with a plan to run seven live races on weekdays because of a shortage of horses, agreed to keep the current schedule of eight live races and expand it to nine live races if "it doesn't impact the overall racing program," he said.

It will be a judgment call that will be left up to racing executive Lenny Hale on a daily basis.

The fields for live races have been fuller recently after the track established a 40 percent bonus in open dirt races that have eight or more betting interests.

However, Wayne Wright, executive secretary of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said money to fund the bonus plan, which comes from a surplus in the purse account, could run out by the end of August.

Post-time changes apply only to weekday racing. Weekend business, with a 1 p.m. post and a 10- or 11-live-race format, has shown an overall increase over past year and has pushed the gross handle to a level 1.2 percent higher than for the same period in 1994.

Concern works at Laurel

Maryland-bred champion Concern shipped to Laurel yesterday from his base at Pimlico and worked a mile in 1 minute, 40 seconds under jockey Jerilyn Brown.

The Bob Meyerhoff colt will be flown to California at the end of the week to race against Cigar on Sunday in the $1 million Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park.

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