Thoroughbred racing went on as scheduled at Bowie Race Course yesterday despite picket lines put up by the electrical workers union earlier in the day.
A majority of the race track employes and 12,625 fans crossed the picket lines with $1,705,837 wagered on the nine-race card on a snowy afternoon.
Negotiations between the Electrical Workers Local 1501 AFL-CIO and the American Totalisator Co. had broken off late Friday night.
The strike involves about 480 computer technicians and manufacturing employes nationwide. American Totalisator operates betting system machines at more than 40 race tracks in the United States and Canada.
Picketing shut down Keystone outside Philadelphia, Sportsman's Park near Chicago, Freehold in New Jersey, Batavia Downs in upstate New York, Suffolk Downs at Boston and California tracks Golden Gate Fields in Albany and Bay Meadows in San Mateo. The success of the strike hinges to a great degree on how many members of the Retail Clerks Union, including mutuel clerks, admissions personnel, guards, car parkers and starting gate crews decide to honor the IBEW picket lines.
Aqueduct and Roosevelt Raceway in New York operated yesterday.
Bowie spokesman Milton Feldman said picket lines were up at three gates at the track. He said the track usually employs 279 mutuel clerks to sell tickets, and 231 worked. "I guess we had only 48 suddenly develop a flu strain overnight," Feldman said.
Alvin R. Karwacki issued a statement earlier: "It is regrettable that Bowie Race Course and all segments of racing are affected by this action. There will be inconvenience for the public. However, we have a duty to the state of Maryland, horsemen and the public to continue racing. A prolonged strike with no racing will result in the loss of millions of dollars to all parties."
One picket said. 'They are using the no-strike clause as an excuse to not risk themselves as we did when they went on strike thrhee years ago. I've always known that race track employes were opportunists and this confirms it. Every contract has a no-strike clause in it."
Alvin Ackman, president of the Retail Employees Union, Local 692, had ordered his members to honor the contract and not go out in sympathy with the electrical workers.
Negotiations between the electrical workers and the management of the American Totalisator Company had not been rescheduled as of yesterday afternoon.
Meanwhile, on the track Blue Ensign, an obscure 3-year-old until last week, circles a fine field of sophomore runners in yesterday's $75,000 added Bowie Stakes to win by seven lengths and vault himself into the 3-year-old Triple Crown picture. So devastating was his rally that his third quarter-mile was run in less than 24 seconds, a sign of a classic performance.