Glendening wants to help racing, but not track owners

January 20, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening is searching for ways to help the Maryland horse-racing industry without benefiting racetrack owners who bitterly opposed his re-election, an aide said yesterday.

In a meeting Monday with Sun editorial writers, Glendening said he was none too eager to help track owners who had aggressively backed his Republican opponents and continue to call for slot machines.

That was a clear reference to Joseph A. De Francis, majority owner of Pimlico and Laurel Park, the state's major thoroughbred tracks.

Yesterday, after many in racing construed Glendening's comments to mean that no segment of the industry would receive state aid, the governor said through an aide that that wasn't his intention.

"He was not talking about the entire industry," said Eleanor M. Carey, the governor's adviser on racing issues. "He's trying to figure out the right thing to do for the industry and for the taxpayers. He wants a viable racing industry."

Although the state granted racing interests about $22 million in subsidies the past two years -- mainly for purses paid to the owners of racehorses -- Glendening did not include a penny for the industry in the budget to be released tomorrow.

Any allocation would have to come in a supplemental budget during the General Assembly session.

Pub Date: 1/20/99

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