A movement spearheaded by the Maryland Racing Commission is under way to try to reach a compromise in the inter-track wagering dispute between Maryland's thoroughbred and harness industries.
The experiment ended abruptly earlier this week when negotiations between the parties broke down, and if the issues aren't resolved, betting on harness racing at Pimlico and Laurel and on thoroughbred action at Rosecroft will cease Tuesday.
Dr. Allan Levey, a member of the racing commission, said he has been "working very hard on a plan because we [the commission] think it's so important to continue this."
Details were not forthcoming, but if the groups agree, inter-tracking would be resumed for a six-month period with each side benefiting via certain concessions.
Joe De Francis, president of Pimlico/Laurel, said if the commission "arbitrates the dispute, it is perfectly acceptable to me. If they can help resolve it, that's fine.
"But something has to happen very quickly because there are many parties involved."
Managements of the two groups have agreed in principle to the plan and the horsemen are discussing it.
"The end of inter-tracking would be a great loss to Maryland racing," said Levey. "The commission worked hard to get the law passed. It is vitally important to keep this open."
Belmont betting at any window
Pimlico will eschew commingling with Belmont and operate its own pools on the Belmont Stakes and Nassau County Handicap today.
The two races will be simulcast as part of the main card.
That means racing fans will be able to bet on the races at any window and watch the odds fluctuating on the main totalisator board and on all television sets instead of only on the monitors carrying the Belmont program.
"It just makes it a little easier for everybody this way," said Pimlico vice president Jim Mango. "We have the ability to have triple wagering on the two races and our pools are large enough.
"We did this with the Metropolitan Mile last week and thought it turned out good for the fans and for us. There are so many options now and this seems like the best one forraces of this stature."
Secret Odds turned in a bullet workout under jockey Mike Luzzi yesterday morning at Laurel: five furlongs in 57 seconds. Trainer Larry Murray is preparing Secret Odds for a New Jersey stakes race.