Tracks don't need a business plan, they need money

March 17, 2011

Today's Baltimore Sun editorial ("Good money after bad," March 17) did a good job of recapping the ongoing nastiness about who gets slots and where the machines get installed. However, as a Maryland taxpayer and horseracing fan — both for over 40 years — I am baffled by the fact that The Sun has chosen at this late date to demand a "business plan" for the operation of Laurel and Pimlico. As if that would be a vital step in saving thoroughbred racing industry!

The key to any attempt to save the industry is a substantial infusion of purse money. As anyone familiar with the sagging fortunes of Laurel and Pimlico knows, the race tracks in the states surrounding Maryland have much higher purse structures than our tracks and so get many more horses per race and therefore generate more betting money which, in turn, leads to profitable operations.

The good fortune of our competition is the result of revenue from gaming — principally slot machines. In the absence of substantial revenue from slots, Gov. Martin O'Malley wisely has chosen to provide the tracks with the lifeblood of thoroughbred horseracing: purse money.

Hal Holzman, Columbia

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