Laurel/Pimlico track operators reached a tentative agreement yesterday to send their signal into two new proposed off-track betting parlors in Cambridge on the Eastern Shore and a Colonial Beach, Va., restaurant, which is actually in Southern Maryland.
Cambridge is in line to be home to the state's third OTB parlor, followed by the Riverboat on the Potomac restaurant, which has a Virginia address, but is built on pilings in the Maryland waters of Charles County.
State harness officials signed a contract selling the Standardbred signal to Greg and Charlene Burton, owners of the Shoals Restaurant and Quality Inn in Cambridge, a couple of weeks ago.
The Burtons have submitted an application for licensing approval to the Maryland Racing Commission.
But until yesterday they had not reached an agreement with Laurel/Pimlico.
"We should finalize the contract with them [the Burtons] next week," said Jim Mango, the tracks' senior vice president of development and mutuels.
Details of the contract, which include such matters as responsibility for security, mutuels, food and beverage service and the percentage of the handle received by the OTB operator, are not made public until the application is filed with the commission.
The commission is examining the Burtons' application and performing background checks. So far, a date has not been set for a public hearing at the Cambridge site.
Kenneth Schertle, executive director of the board, said the hearing could be held in mid-August when the commission schedules its regular monthly meeting at Delmarva Downs.
Tom Flanagan, owner of the Riverboat on the Potomac, said he should file his licensing application with the commission within a week.
He has yet to reach an agreement to take the harness signal from Rosecroft/Delmarva, but Ted Snell, the tracks' president, said "he has our proposal in hand. I'm sure we'll be going into his place together with the thoroughbreds."
Flanagan said he has received the necessary liquor and zoning permits from Charles County and added that local politicians from Colonial Beach have visited the Cracked Claw OTB parlor near Frederick to see how an OTB facility is operated.
The Colonial Beach restaurant, about 25 miles south of La Plata and 60 miles north of Richmond, can hold about 500 people. It is smaller than the Cracked Claw and a little larger than Poor Jimmy's Family Restaurant, the state's other OTB parlor, in Cecil County.
Mango has planned 12 mutuel machines and about 50 television monitors for Cambridge and 15 to 16 machines at Colonial Beach with 75 TV sets.
Laurel stakes races this weekend drew good-sized fields. There are 12 horses entered today in the Humphrey S. Finney Stakes for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds on the turf. Woods of Windsor, Awad and P.J. Higgins head the lineup. Tomorrow 10 horses are entered in the Fort McHenry Handicap at 10 furlongs on the grass. Social Retiree is the likely favorite. . . . To
night Maryland-bred trotting champion, S.J's Photo, takes on 3-5 favorite American Winner in the $313,000 Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway. The 3-year-old standardbred was supplemented to the race at a cost of $35,000 by owner-trainer David Wade of North East. The horse is the 4-1 second choice and will be driven by Herve Filion.