Panel studies key racing issues


Maryland Racing Commission chairman John McDaniel and commission member Dr. Allan Levey are among the 19 people appointed recently to Gov. William Donald Schaefer's "Commission on Competitive Forces Facing Maryland's Horse Racing Industry."

They expect to investigate such subjects as the impact of simulcasting, the threat of casino gambling and the state of the industry as a whole.

Levey said the racing commission already has compiled a lot of material that it has turned over to the task force.

"From all that I had seen so far, the most apparent problem was in Michigan, where the Detroit race tracks were off 20 to 25 percent in handle when casinos were installed across the border in Windsor [Ont.]," Levey said.

"Their purses are lower, and even the Michigan Mile [the state's most prestigious race] was canceled."

McDaniel said the big difference will be in "the amount of funding" that can now be devoted to the project.

"This will be very helpful in getting this study going, and everyone can now take a more balanced view of it."

NOTES: Yesterday the commission approved Fair Hill's request for racing Oct. 30 this year and May 29 and Oct. 29 of next year, plus two more 1995 dates to be specified later for the race course near Elkton. . . . A proposal is pending to amend regulations so that a bettor would be required to have a ticket in hand before he or she has a legitimate wager. Problems have arisen among tellers and/or self-service machines and patrons when tickets have become "stuck" as a race is going off.

Under the proposed regulations, a bettor would be entitled only to the amount of money wagered as a refund. . . .

The commission recommended Tom Winebrener as the commercial breeder representative on the advisory committee to the Standardbred fund. . . .

Proposals by Rosecroft Raceway judges for rule changes were referred to Cloverleaf Inc., which represents Maryland's Standardbred horsemen, for study and comment. . . .

The pre-race cutoff time for claiming a horse was reduced from 15 minutes to 10.

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