Laurel Race Course President Frank DeFrancis has scheduled a news conference today to announce plans for construction of a sports complex within the grandstand area that will be unveiled when Laurel reopens Sept. 22.
DeFrancis refused to give details, but promised a "2lst century" concept for fans, with the latest available viewing and betting technical innovations. "It's very exciting. We're breaking new ground in what a race track can offer to the public," he said.
Legislation to revitalize Maryland's thoroughbred-racing industry took effect yesterday. The law reduces the state's allotment of parimutuel wagering to .5 percent from 4.09 percent, giving Maryland's thoroughbred tracks a total estimated annual revenue increase of $9 million that may be used to bolster purses, improve facilities and finance promotions. In addition, the tracks' daily license fee was cut from $1,000 to $25.
Purses at Bowie Race Course will increase more than $100,000 over the final 12 days of the meeting, according to track general manager Al Karwacki. Bowie's current meeting ends July 13, after which it becomes a training facility.
Bowie's racing dates will be allocated to Maryland's two remaining thoroughbred tracks -- Pimlico and Laurel. Each will operate six months per year.
The tax relief was part of legislation designed to make Maryland racing more competitive with that of neighboring states, particularly New Jersey.
The bettors tax on mutuels remains unchanged.
Niosk rallied from last place to defeat seven rivals in Bowie's $10,000 feature race yesterday.
Ridden by Larry Saumell, Niosk (5 to 1) left the gate poorly and trailed front-running favorite Vandy's Friend (8-5) by eight lengths after four of 6 1/2 furlongs, but won by a half-length.