Timonium takes time for Douglas Meeting opens with salute to jockey hurt last year

August 29, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Jockey Frank Douglas, injured severely in a spill at Timonium last year, will be saluted today when the track at the state fairgrounds opens its annual 10-day meeting.

"He was hurt here last summer, so we thought we'd do a little something for him," said Howard "Max" Mosner, Timonium's general manager. "He's going to give autographs and give away T-shirts between the races he rides."

The track will present a $2,000 scholarship in the form of a savings bond to each of Douglas' two children. Broadcaster Jim McKay will make the presentation.

Timonium has enjoyed a major resurgence in betting and attendance since the introduction of simulcasting four years ago and is expecting an even more profitable run this time.

"Our purses are a little bit better again, and horses that run at Laurel and Pimlico will be running in the same category of racing this year," said Mosner.

"Last year, we had our best racing, and we think it'll even be a little better."

Purses will average more than $160,000 daily.

The opening-day stakes -- one of five during the meet -- will be the Bobby Hale, a $40,000 event for 2-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The 117th meeting at the fairgrounds will end on Labor Day with the $40,000 Winning Colors Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Last summer, the perennial jockey leader at the five-eighths-mile oval, Alberto Delgado, was injured and missed the meet. Mark Rosenthal and Travis Dunkelberger shared the riding title.

John Robb will be back to defend his trainers championship.

"With the conflict with [Virginia's] Colonial Downs gone [except for Labor Day], we don't anticipate any problems getting horses," said Mosner.

The final day will include Timonium's participation in America's Day at the Races, featuring exhibitions, horseshoe giveaways, jockey autographs, an art show and the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Pimlico-Laurel wrap-up: Average wagering on the Pimlico-at-Laurel meet that ended yesterday was down nearly $63,000 daily, or 4.33 percent, from 1997.

Total betting increased, but only because the meet was extended to 35 days this year, including seven simulcast-only days. In 1997, the meet consisted of 23 live cards and five simulcast programs.

Attendance also fell -- from an average of 6,227 last year to 5,970 -- at all Maryland betting outlets.

Meanwhile, Delaware has passed the $8 billion plateau in total money played on the slot machines since 1996. And the pace is accelerating.

Pub Date: 8/29/98

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