Operators of the state's thoroughbred and harness tracks met for the second time in four days yesterday, but again failed to reach an agreement that could keep alive an experimental, cross-breed simulcasting program between the two sets of tracks.
However, the two sides will meet again on Friday. In the meantime, they will continue to operate the inter-track program, although Pimlico/Laurel operator Joe De Francis originally had threatened to shut it down on Thursday.
De Francis reiterated yesterday his intention to stop the program, under the terms agreed to by both parties before the experiment began about three weeks ago, if financial terms are not reworked.
The thoroughbred tracks have not had the anticipated increase in business since they started televising their races into Rosecroft Raceway in the afternoons. But the standardbred tracks have exceeded expectations with the draw for nighttime harness simulcasts at Pimlico and Laurel race courses.
De Francis has not stated specifics, but the thoroughbred tracks could add revenue from two sources:
* Receiving the income from the simulcasts of the Freehold, N.J., harness races, run during the afternoon. Proceeds from the handle on those races, about $65,000 a day, now go to the standardbred tracks.
* Simulcasting full cards daily from Hollywood Park in California instead of shutting them off at 7:15 p.m. Laurel and Pimlico receive the income from those races.
De Francis had no comment on the negotiations yesterday other than to say: "We are still trying hard to find a solution."
Ted Snell, president of Colt Enterprises, operator of Rosecroft and Delmarva raceways, said he is confident a deal can be reached. "We'll look at all the statistics this week and come up with a new deal to present him [De Francis] on Friday," he said.
He said the Cloverleaf harness horsemen's board planned to discuss the matter at its monthly meeting at Kent Island last night.