Glendening gets look at Pimlico plans

De Francis makes pitch

final design due June 15

June 04, 1999|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening yesterday got his first look at the renovations proposed for Pimlico Race Course as part of his demand that the track be improved before the state invests more money in the industry.

"It was a very good meeting. They presented preliminary designs that were interesting and exciting," said Mike Morrill, director of communications for Glendening.

The state's racing industry is eagerly anticipating the final renovation plan for the track, which must be approved by key state legislators and the governor before $10 million in already budgeted state aid for purses can be disbursed. The plan has to be presented to lawmakers by June 15.

Morrill said the track owners are on schedule for that report. Glendening will wait until lawmakers make their decision before he considers the plan. "There's no thumbs up or thumbs down until we get the final report," Morrill said.

Maryland Jockey Club President Joseph De Francis, owner of Pimlico and Laurel Park, made the presentation to the governor in Annapolis yesterday afternoon. De Francis actively worked against the governor's re-election last year, and the two have been on poor terms since.

But Maryland Racing Commission chairman John Franzone, who attended yesterday's meeting, said the two were cordial.

Franzone, who has been critical of De Francis' stewardship of the tracks, said he was impressed with the plans presented yesterday. They called for a substantial overhaul of Pimlico, improving both its interior and exterior, removing some dilapidated barns and building an exterior paddock.

Pub Date: 6/04/99

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