OTB outlet in Cambridge closes

Another Shore site sought as The Shoals shuts down

July 19, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Jockey Club's off-track betting network lost a member recently when The Shoals, located in Cambridge, closed for business.

"The owner [Charlene Burton] informed us last month that she was selling her motel and restaurant," said Jim Mango, chief operating officer. "She didn't own the land and they're going to develop that property for other purposes."

Mango said the MJC is investigating other sites on the Eastern Shore, possibly in Cambridge or Salisbury. "We're certainly looking at the alternatives," said Mango.

The Shoals was not a major player in the network, handling approximately $3.5 million annually. But that total was incremented, according to Mango, because the site was out of the Laurel-Pimlico market area.

Although one of the Jockey Club's major objectives is to expand and improve the off-track network, the plan has experienced setbacks lately.

The disagreements with Poor Jimmy's in Cecil County eventually resulted in an extension of a license for the North East restaurant -- with the provision that it would close when a new facility was located.

But that hit a snag when a proposed site at the Big Elk Mall in Elkton was vetoed by planning commissioners.

"Now we have a team of people looking at other places," Mango said.

Delaware invader Tappat rallied from last in a five-horse field to comfortably win yesterday's feature, the $50,000 Walter Haight Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

The second-longest choice on the board, the Pleasant Tap gelding took the outside route under Mario Verge to finish in 1: 49 1/5 over a fast track.

In riding Tappat for the first time, Verge said the horse is "kind of push-button. He'll sit there and when you ask him to go he'll pick it up. When he made the lead, he was kind of playing around, but it didn't matter."

Praise Heaven and Perfect to a Tee, nearly co-favorites, ran second and third, respectively, to a gelding who is unbeaten in three outings at Laurel Park.

LOCAL NOTES: Mango attributed the dropoff in attendance and handle figures on De Francis Dash day to the heat. "The numbers were disappointing, but there are a lot of people who just can't go out in this weather. My father, who is 77, was here from New York and he's the perfect example because he has a lung problem," said Mango. Jockey Travis Dunkelberger is expected to be sidelined for about two weeks with a chip of a neck vertebra. He was injured in a spill Thursday when his mount, Quiescent, broke down and had to be humanely destroyed.

STAKES: Cat Thief hooked up with General Challenge in an exciting stretch duel and came away with a head victory in the $500,000 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds in Inglewood, Calif. Ridden by Pat Day, Cat Thief covered 1 1/8 miles in 1: 47.87 and paid $7.60 and $2.20. Jorge Chavez guided Mythical Gem to a 1 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park. Trained by H. Graham Motion at Laurel Park, the winner returned $24.40, $15.20 and $10.80. In the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, Dixie Union and Alex Solis won by 1 1/4 lengths over Exchange Rate in 1: 09.95 for six furlongs.

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