Negotiations on the purchase of Bowie Race Curse by Pimlico Race Course have reached "the serious stage," according to Al Karwacki, Bowie's general manager.

Marshall Jacobs, chief negotiatior for Bowie, and Richard Case, Pimlico's spokesman, met with Pimlico co-owner Ben Cohen and Karwacki Saturday at Bowie. After a lengthy meeting, Cohen would say little more than that the two sides are talking.

"Sure, the talk is serious," Cohen said yesterday. "But it still is only talk. Before you cook a rabbit stew, you have to catch the rabbit."

It was unclear whether Pimlico would move Bowie's 112 racing dates to the Baltimore track. Asked that question yesterday, Cohen said, "We don't even have the track yet. Who can think that far ahead when there are so many possibilities?"

Bowie apparently has been talking to other groups about a sale for some time, but has not been able to reach an agreement acceptable to its parent company in Canada.

One scenario promulgated by someone close to the scene has Pimlico buying Bowie, selling off its 460 acres and switching the dates to Pimlico. Another has Pimlico buying Bowie and adding some of the Prince George's County track's prime dates in March and June to its dates.

Said Karwacki: "It is much too early. True, the negotiations are serious, but there isn't even anything on paper yet. We will meet again soon and go on with our talks. there are so many details to think about.