Reassessing Secretariat's Preakness Maryland Jockey Club to seek review of time

June 24, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The move to reopen the investigation into Secretariat's 1973 Preakness time gathered some momentum yesterday at a routine meeting of the Maryland Racing Commission at Laurel Park.

Marty Jacobs, executive general counsel of the Maryland Jockey Club, said the organization will "make a formal request" of the panel to look into the matter, which has been a subject of debate for a quarter-century.

"Computerized timing is available now, and we believe it will reveal the true time as opposed to the official time," said Jacobs. "We expect to come to you with new evidence at the next meeting."

Officially, Secretariat ran the race in 1 minute, 54 2/5 seconds, then two-fifths of a second off the race record run by Canonero II two years earlier.

But Pimlico's electronic timer malfunctioned, and the Daily Racing Form timed him in 1: 53 2/5. That Preakness time has subsequently been run by Tank's Prospect in 1985 and Louis Quatorze in 1996, so Secretariat would own only a share of the race record.

The commission held a hearing on the issue shortly after the race at the request of Secretariat's owner, Penny Tweedy, but no action was taken because of conflicting testimony.

Another hearing would be necessary before the official time could be overturned.

After months of disagreement about language between the horsemen and track management, the commission approved a two-part definition of stakes racing.

To comply with the state's statute, $50,000 or more added money will constitute a stakes. For purposes of book work, any race in which a horseman pays to enter, nominates and starts or to which he or she is invited will be a lesser stakes.

This complies with a law requiring that no more than 17 percent of total purse distribution can be distributed for stakes events and seems to satisfy both parties.

NOTES: The panel also passed a 40-night meet at Ocean Downs starting July 2 and agreed to a request by that track to export selected races. Accepted with little discussion were reports on the acquisition of 40 percent of the total stock (voting and non-voting) in Laurel and Pimlico by LUK-Flats, a subsidiary of Leucadia National Corp., a New York investment firm. Jacobs presented details of various financial items requested of the Maryland Jockey Club, including profit margins and percentages of return for the past nine years.

Laurel week

Post time: Today (first day of meet) to Sunday, 1 p.m.

Dark: Monday

Simulcast: Tuesday

Information: 410-542-9400

Out-of-town simulcasts: For results, scratches, call 410-792-7464.

Pub Date: 6/24/98

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