Members of the Maryland Thoroughbred Racing Board squabbled amongst themselves at their meeting today.
A dispute broke out when Commissioner Ann F. Mahoney commented on Pimlico's request for reimbursement from the Racing Fund for improvements at that track.
She said, "I want to state here and now that I am not satisfied with the state dealing in deficit. We are approving these monies to be spent and there isn't any money in the bank to pay for these improvements. Furthermore, I think this commission has been remiss in the past in allowing these practices to prevail."
Assistant State's Attorney Todd Taylor read a section of the law that he said covered the practice of the commission's approval of tracks spending money for improvements before the money is banked by the tracks.
The Racing Fund was created in the mid-'40s to assure track improvement. The legislature allowed the tracks one half of 1 percent of money wagered for that purpose. The long-standing practice is for a track to go ahead with improvements before it actually generates the money at its meeting.
"I question the entire way this matter has been handled, what with closed meetings where there are no minutes, possible approval of improvements for what shoudl be expenses for maintenance by the tracks themselves and assurance that the commission has accepted the best bid possible."
Pimlico General Manager Charles (Chick) Lang countered: "We, the tracks, generate that money. It doesn't cost the state anything. I would further suggest that you are, knowingly or otherwise, misleading the public in this matter."
Commissioner Robert W. Furtick added, "I resent the implication by Mrs. Mahoney that this commission has acted in anything but a proper manner, now and in the past."
Borar Chairman Robert W. B anning called for the assistant state's attorney to request an opinion, then joined with three fellow commissioners in allowing the Pimlico request. Mahoney dissented.
In other commission business, suspended trainer Richard Delp was denied reduction of his 20-day suspension for being the alleged aggressor in an altercation with exercise boy Mike Smith Nov. 18. Delp faces a hearing in Anne Arundel Circuit Court on Jan. 30. His suspension will end Jan. 19.
After considering the problem of negative postrace findings for the medication phenybutazone, the commission voted unanimously to punish any trainer whose charge is found without the drug as advertised.
On Lasix, the other, more potent, permitted medication, Banning said, "We'll have to deal with that one in our next meeting." There is no penalty for the withdrawal of Lasix.
Banning said that Maryland has joined Illionois, Louisiana and Florida in a reciprocal agreement to help detect the banned narcotic Sublimaze. The chairman said that specimens taken from Maryland race winners will be flown to Illionis chemists. Meanwhile, Maryland will develop its own technology to detect the illicit drug, he said.