Sale of Bowie Race Course to Pimlico Race Course is expected Friday, members of the Maryland Thoroughbred Racing Commission were told yesterday by the owners of the two tracks at an informal meeting of the commission.
The Maryland Jockey Club of Baltimore Inc., operators of the Baltimore track, will pay Bowie's owners $10 million, plus spend an additional $2 million in assuming a loan Bowie took out for improvements.
The chief operating officers of Pimlico, Herman Cohen, Nathan L. Cohen and Ben Cohen, all of Baltimore, say they have no immediate plans to switch any of Bowie's 112 racing dates from the Prince George's County track.
The other Maryland thoroughbred tracks are Laurel, in Prince George's County, and Timonium, a five-eighths mile track north of Baltimore that operates 42 days and whose existence now appears threatened. The three major facilities are all one-mile tracks.
At one point yesterday, Ben Cohen was reported to have said that John D. Schapiro, Laurel Race Course president, would be asked to participate in the deal.
Schapiro said last night, "I have no idea when Pimlico and Bowie will complete their deal. I understand that it will be completed in the next 60 or 90 days. We expect to talk to them at that time."
Asked what the mutual benefit could be for Pimlico and Laurel, Schapiro replied, "Historically, race consolidation has brought better racing to Maryland. In 1948 when I bought Pimlico, there were nine tracks--four milers and five half-milers. When I sold Pimlico . . . we further consolidated the Havre de Grace and Belair dates. Yes, we have talked with Pimlico and Bowie, but only to the extent that we will talk again after the Pimlico-Bowie deal is completed."
Ben Cohen refused to talk about any part Laurel might have. "Our deal is with Bowie. It should be signed by Friday."
Bowie's summer meeting is to end Tuesday, with Timonium to run Wednesday, July 27, through Sept. 13. Laurel opens on Sept. 14 and runs until Dec. 9, followed by the winter meeting at Bowie. Racing dates for 1984 will be announced in October.
If Schapiro joins the Cohens in the purchase of Bowie, speculation persists that Laurel, which is a superior facility to Bowie, will get 80 of Bowie's 112 dates in addition to its 76 dates. Also, there has been talk of trying night and Sunday racing.