Delaware's slots: gamble for Maryland

On Horse Racing

December 17, 1995|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Various snafus frequently have delayed start-up of the slot machines at Delaware Park, but when they finally get going, Poor Jimmy's figures to suffer the most immediate effect.

The off-track betting parlor in Cecil County is less than a half-hour's drive from the Stanton, Del., track.

Owner Jimmy Bomba said he "hasn't the slightest idea" if his business will decline and noted that "most of my customers are local. There are a few from Delaware."

But the geography definitely concerns Maryland Jockey Club management. General counsel Martin Jacobs said a drop-off can be expected, and "the only question is how much."

Track management is hampered in the northeastern-most section of the state because potential OTB facilities are limited. Poor Jimmy's is the second-oldest OTB site in the system behind the Cracked Claw in Frederick County.

Jacobs called the site "adequate for the program. We're not ashamed by it. But the owner has been reluctant to improve the facility, which we would like to see."

The MJC's contract with Poor Jimmy's runs through 1996.

Four-state licensing

The industry scored a big victory at its recent seminar when four major racing states, including Maryland, announced agreement on a multi-state licensing program.

New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania also are participating in a program that will enable more than 20,000 thoroughbred and Standardbred owners and trainers who race in more than one of the states to undergo a streamlined licensing process.

Alan Foreman, executive director of the new Thoroughbred Horsemen Associations, brokered the pact. He is the attorney for all Maryland horsemen.

"The willingness of each state to put aside their parochial interests and work for the benefit of the industry should be applauded," said Foreman. "The impact and benefits of this program will go beyond licensing and usher in a new spirit of cooperation in the industry."

Final details of the arrangement will be released shortly when a computer program is refined, but, in effect, it will eliminate duplicate fingerprinting and require only the completion of a short form to operate in a second state.

Not their bailiwick

Cloverleaf Enterprises made an unusual request to the Maryland Racing Commission last week and promptly was referred to the state legislature.

The Rosecroft Raceway owner asked the commission for a temporary increase in its takeout until a $70,000 shortfall accumulated by the previous track management could be covered.

Allan Levey, the commission chairman, quickly informed Rosecroft: "We cannot vote on a law."

Later, he added: "It's really sad because Cloverleaf [the harness horsemen] pushed for extra money before it bought the track. They needed it.

"We couldn't make up the difference now even if we wanted to. Our main objective is to protect the public."

Dennis Dowd, Rosecroft's general manager, said the matter will not be pursued any further.

"It was one of those things that fell through the cracks in the transition to Bally management," he said. "The amount is a great deal of money to us, but it is not the type of matter that you go to the legislature about.

"They have much bigger matters to address, like slot machines."

Headed for Florida

Sunny A., purchased by New Farm out of the Israel Cohen dispersal sale for $140,000, has been shipped to Florida.

A spokesman at the New Jersey farm said trainer Ben Perkins Sr. plans to put Sunny A. "into training and racing" at Gulfstream Park, which opens Jan. 3. "The other horse he bought in that sale also went."

That is Forest Wildcat, a 4-year-old sired by Storm Cat, who has earned $49,736. He was purchased for $57,000.

Sunny A. was the only 2-year-old in the sale who had been raced. He had one win in three starts and was second to the highly regarded Count On Numbers in the Primer Breeders' Cup Stakes at Pimlico.

TV in jeopardy

A change in the New York Racing Association summer stakes schedule may force Saratoga's famed Travers off live television.

Customarily run the third Saturday in August, the $750,000 Travers was moved to Aug. 24 this year to conform with a week-later shift of the 34-day Saratoga meeting.

But ABC-TV is committed to the Little League World Series in the 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. slot on that date, and track and network officials are scrambling to find an alternative for telecasting the Travers.

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