The weekend storm that passed through Maryland washed out Timonium Race Track's chances for a record-setting 1999 meeting.
Final figures released yesterday showed attendance and betting declines in all categories after Tropical Storm Dennis hit the area Saturday and Sunday and wiped out the opportunity for a big finish.
"This is a surprise to me," said Timonium general manager Howard "Max" Mosner. "We expected a record meet, but fields have been very short because of a tremendous number of scratches. To say we're not disappointed would be wrong."
Attendance for the 10-day run was 42,785, down 7 percent overall. The on-track handle of $2,572,050 was off 12 percent and the in-state handle fell 13 percent to $4,649,349. More than $8 million was wagered throughout the country, a 9 percent decline.
The biggest hit came Sunday -- normally a profitable day at the windows -- when Dennis inundated the track with intermittent storms.
"We can't control the weather," said Mosner. "We had 10 good years with little or no rain. Sooner or later, that was going to catch up with us. Dennis fooled around out there long enough to really hurt. I learned a long time ago that you have to ride with it."
Cortez takes title
Alciabades Cortez wrapped up the jockey championship by winning the first race with the closer Fine Rags, who rallied to score as the favorite in a field of six.
It was the 10th victory of the meeting for journeyman Cortez, who entered the final card tied with Alberto Delgado. Except for Cortez, all of the remaining contenders were riding at different tracks yesterday, with Delgado opting for the opening program at Colonial Downs.
Cortez succeeds Travis Dunkelberger, the 1998 titlist who is out of action with an injury suffered in a spill at Laurel Park last month.
Charles Town-based veteran Larry Dupuy finished with a flourish yesterday, taking four races -- including three in a row -- while working for four different trainers,
Jerry Robb clinched the trainer's title with his sixth win in yesterday's eighth race, the derby for female riders. P.J. Layden drove American Car to victory in that one over favored Harbor of Grace.
Robb will receive a $4,000 bonus from the $10,000 pot. The remaining $6,000 will be divided among King Leatherbury, Howard Wolfendale, John Tammaro and Gary Capuano, who tied for second.
Escaping wins feature
Delaware invader Escaping captured the final-day feature, the $40,000 Winning Colors Stakes, with a dominant performance.
The In the Slammer filly ran away from early pacesetter Pulverize Spring at the end of the backstretch and pulled away to a 4 1/4-length victory over Sentimentalromance for her sixth win in seven starts this year. The only exception was in her last start, when she stumbled early and finished fourth in the Ann Dear Stakes at Delaware.
Pub Date: 9/07/99