Friday night's eighth race at Laurel Raceway is under investigation, the chairman of the Maryland Harness racing Commission said yesterday.
Commission chairman Ben Schwartz said Al Lansau, the presiding judge at Laurel, began the inquiry because the exacts payoff in the race was extremely low. Gypsy Hill Mark, which won the race, paid $8.20, with Royal Collins, a 14-to-1 shot, second for a $31.60 payoff.
Previously, Schwartz had confirmed that the FBI was investigating the triple races at the track on July 29 and Aug. 2 for the possibility those races were fixed. Schwartz said yesterday he had no update on the progress of those investigations.
Landau called in the eight drivers involved in Friday night's eighth race for interviews yesterday. Landau talked to all but one, who does not regularly race at Laurel.
"After viewing films and driving patters of the race, there doesn't appear to be irregularity," said Bill Alcom chief inspector for the commission. "But the race is still under investigation. The betting patterns is what made them (the judges) look at it more than anything else."
Schwartz suggested that the low exacta payoff may have resulted because "someone bet real heavy on the exacta, knowing what they were doing."
He said this is often the case when an exacta payoff seems out of line with the straight odds on the houses involved.
The new harness racing commission had been in existence only two months. Previously, harness-racing matters were handled by the Maryland Racing Commission. Schwartz said he wants to clean up any irregularities in the sport.