Appointees give panel a new look

Clogg, Bramble bring different perspectives

Horse Racing

December 14, 2004|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

When the Maryland Racing Commission convenes today to consider the most recent delay in the reopening of Laurel Park, two new commissioners will offer perspective from widely varying viewpoints.

David Clogg, 57, a financial adviser, brings to the nine-member commission a background in harness racing. He has owned standardbreds and competed as an amateur driver.

David Bramble, 28, a lawyer, brings to the board a background unlike any of his new colleagues, who own horses or have some other close connection to the sport.

"I have no background in racing," Bramble said. "I think the idea behind my appointment was that I would bring a fresh perspective to it, that I could help come up with solutions to the many issues facing the industry."

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. appointed Bramble to replace Ernest Colvin, whose term expired, and Clogg to complete the term of Vincent Palumbo, who resigned. Ehrlich also reappointed commissioner John McDaniel to another four-year term.

Bramble lives in Baltimore and works in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson. His specialty is corporate transactions. He said his interest in racing up to now has been watching big races on TV. He said he has been to Pimlico, but that today's meeting at Laurel Park will be his first visit to that track.

He'll see racing surfaces under construction in a massive project that was supposed to be finished in September. The main topic on the commissioners' agenda is the construction -- when it will be completed, and when racing can return to Laurel. Last week, Maryland Jockey Club officials said the tentative reopening date of Dec. 26 has been pushed back to January.

Clogg, the other new commissioner, lives in Baldwin and works in Baltimore at Chapin, Davis. He has been a fan of harness racing since he was 19 and working summers in Ocean City. His friends wanted to go to Ocean Downs, the nearby harness track, and he had the car. He drove and enjoyed himself.

He remained a fan, and in 1998 he started racing standardbreds. He owned as many as 16 horses at a time but now owns only one, stabled in New Jersey.

This year, he quit racing at Rosecroft Raceway, the harness track in Prince George's County, "because of the racing conditions in Maryland and everything going on at Rosecroft," he said.

The track just outside Washington has struggled financially while trying to find a buyer. The family of Peter Angelos, majority owner of the Orioles, recently agreed to buy the track.

The revenue-sharing agreement between the harness factions at Rosecroft and the thoroughbred factions at Pimlico and Laurel expires Dec. 31. Clogg said he'd like to see a new deal that "doesn't kill Rosecroft ... There are thousands of people employed by the standardbred industry. For it to go by the wayside would be a real shame."

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