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Operators to discuss inter-track bets


The operators of the state's thoroughbred and harness track will meet Friday at Laurel Race Course to discuss their inter-track wagering agreement.

On the agenda will be a renegotiation of the financial terms of the arrangement, which so far has weighed heavily in favor of the harness management.

In a letter to harness officials last week, Joe De Francis, the

Pimlico-Laurel track operator, vowed to end the inter-track agreement unless the terms are changed.

Jim Mango, general manager of the thoroughbred group, said yesterday that "it appears on face value that our operation at Rosecroft is not benefiting from this. Most of the handle there is coming out of Laurel."

Because of all the work associated with the Preakness, an analysis of the figures has been delayed, Mango said.

"I'm spending this week doing that," he said. "But I don't yet have an answer. I have a feel for what's going on. It seems apparent we're being hurt a little bit.

"But it's going to take a couple of days to get a handle on it. We're not dealing with one-to-one costs in a lot of cases. The associated costs haven't been analyzed."

Figures released by Rosecroft Raceway show a 21 percent increase in wagering on Maryland harness racing during weekends since inter-track wagering began four weeks ago.

In the period since inter-track wagering started, the average weekend night handle in the state has been $701,768 on 12 cards.

Before ITW and after Delmarva, Rosecroft's sister track, opened, the average for eight weekend cards was $580,342.

Both figures are based on gross handle -- before operating costs are factored in.

But they do not include the $64,445 average handle on Freehold harness racing at Laurel and Pimlico in the daytime, a total that has surprised thoroughbred officials.

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