The owners of Bowie and Laurel have been approached recently with offers to buy the Maryland mile tracks, it has been learned by The Washington Post.
Associates Racking Association of Chicago made a bid last weekend to purchase Bowie. Their price was turned down by Gibraltar Pari-Mutuel, Inc., Bowie's parent company, as being inadequate, but negotiations are expected to continue.
ARA was formed two years ago "to give minority groups stronger participation in Illinois racing" and has been quite profitable. The association landed 23 racing dates at the Washington Park harness track in 1976 and 15 nights at the Maywood Park harness track last year. It is a predominately black group.
Jack Loome, formerly the general manager of Bowie before he became president of Arlington Park near Chicago, is representing the ARA in its discussions with the Bowie ownership. Loome reportedly would serve as chief operating officer here if the deal is consumated.
John Schapiro, president of Laurel, has repeatedly denied Laurel is about to be sold. Yesterday he changed his comments slightly.
"The track has not been advertised on the open market," Schapiro said. "The feelers I have received were not acceptable."
Schapiro no longer says Laurel could not be sold, however. He reportedly has been offered $10 million for the property but is said to be seeking $12 million.
"I would not have said that, five years ago," he admitted. "I've been in racing for 30 years. Maybe someone eager enough with some ideas and a lot of ambition could carry on."
Schapiro reportedly has been offered $10 million for the property but is said to be seeking $12 million.