SBD/Issue 43/Facilities & Venues

Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Dates, Purses To Remain Flat Next Year

MRC Officials Say Possible Slots Revenue Could
Result In Increased Purses In Latter Half Of '10
The Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) yesterday "approved the same number of live racing dates and purses for next year that they had in 2009 at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course," but MRC officials said that "possible slots revenue could result in increased purses during the latter half of 2010," according to Sandra McKee of the Baltimore SUN. Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (MTHA) Exec Secretary Wayne Wright: "We're racing four days a week with no cuts in stakes and no purse reductions. We expect to get through the first six months and at that point start to see the slot revenue trickle in. At that point we'll reassess." McKee notes Maryland tracks "will host 150 racing dates this year" with purses averaging about $160,000 a day. The MTHA "for much of the past five years ... has seen dates cut from its racing program in an effort to save the industry in the state" (Baltimore SUN, 11/11).

COURT REPORT: In Baltimore, Hanah Cho reports former Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course co-Owner Joseph De Francis is "fighting to keep intact a profit-sharing agreement that would split any potential slots proceeds with the racetracks' bankrupt owner, Magna Entertainment Corp." Attorneys for De Francis last week "initiated an adversary proceeding, or the bankruptcy court equivalent of a civil lawsuit, asking a federal bankruptcy judge to reject Magna's request to terminate the profit-sharing deal with De Francis and other former owners" (Baltimore SUN, 11/11).

DREAMING BIG: In Albany, Tim Wilkin reported Gulfstream Park President & GM Ken Dunn "would like to see" Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta "run against each other" at the track, which is located in Hallandale Beach, Florida, in the February 6 Donn Handicap. The race "would be run a day before the Super Bowl" at Dolphin Stadium. Dunn: "Can you imagine the coverage that this event, and this sport, would receive, with the world's sporting media in town for the next day's Super Bowl only 10 miles down the road?" (TIMESUNION.com, 11/10).

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