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De Francis group closes stock deal with Manfusos


The sale of the Manfuso brothers' stock in Laurel and Pimlico race courses to Joe De Francis, his sister Karin Van Dyke and Martin Jacobs was finalized yesterday in Baltimore.

"The closing is complete. The funds were wired and received by the Manfusos at 3:30 p.m.," said Herb Garten, the Manfusos' attorney.

Linda Woolf, a lawyer representing the De Francis group, said, "Everything is signed, sealed and delivered."

Garten said De Francis now has "substantial voting control" in Laurel and Pimlico and that Van Dyke opted to take mostly nonvoting stock. "Basically, she's in the same position that the Manfusos were in," Garten said.

The De Francis group paid a $1.64 million down payment yesterday and will pay the rest in installments over the next four years. De Francis has said that financing for the sale was arranged through Jack Kent Cooke, who has purchased 100 acres of Laurel Race Course land to build a stadium for his Washington Redskins.

Garten said the Manfusos will hold all the stock in the tracks as collateral until the balance is paid.

Valley Crossing state champ

Valley Crossing, who won the Grade I Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park last summer and was second to Devil His Due in the Pimlico Special, was named 1993 Maryland-bred Horse of the Year.

He is one of two state-bred champions owned and bred by Robert Meyerhoff, who also campaigned Tennis Lady, voted best state-bred 3-year-old filly. Valley Crossing also won best older male horse.

Champions in eight divisions were announced yesterday by the Maryland Horse Breeders' Association in Timonium.

The divisional winners are:

* 2-year-old colt or gelding: Hal C.B. Clagett's Run Alden, Jerry Robb, trainer.

* 2-year-old filly: Nickel's Stable's Smart'n Noble, Dick Delp, trainer.

* 3-year-old colt or gelding: Chip Reed's Chip's Dancer, Jerry Ferris, trainer.

* 3-year-old filly: Meyerhoff's Tennis Lady, Dick Small, trainer.

* Older male: Meyerhoff's Valley Crossing, Small, trainer.

* Older female: Stuart S. Janney III's Deputation, Shug McGaughey, trainer.

* Turf runner: Ryehill Farm's Awad, David Donk, trainer.

* Jumper: Daniel Brewster's Rolling Cart, Charles Fenwick Jr., trainer.

Garden State ban lifted

Lenny Hale, vice president of racing for Laurel/Pimlico, said that horses stabled at Maryland tracks can again ship to Garden State Park and return to their Maryland base and that horses stabled at the New Jersey facility can run at Laurel.

On Thursday, Hale banned Maryland horses from shipping to Garden State Park, as well as to Aqueduct and Belmont and Philadelphia Parks, because of an equine herpes outbreak reported at the New York and Pennsylvania tracks. In addition, horses from those tracks were not allowed to ship into Laurel, Pimlico or the Bowie training center.

Hale said Garden State's chief veterinarian reported no cases of the equine herpes.

The ban still applies to the New York tracks and Philadelphia Park.

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