A strong field of 11 three-year-olds is expected for the 22nd running of the $145,000 Governor's Cup Handicap today, the final racing day in Bowie Race Course's 71-year history.
Racing Secretary Lawrence Abbundi assigned El Basco top weight of 121 pounds for the 1 1/8-mile race, which offers a $74,750 top prize and a $30,000 Breeders' Cup premium award to eligible horses.
El Basco won the Withers Stakes at Belmont after finishing a neck behind Spend a Buck in the Jersey Derby. The colt will run as an entry with stablemate Purple Mountain.
The El Basco-Purple Mountain entry is the overnight favorite, with Skip Trial, Salem Drive and Don's Choice the top challengers.
Other entries are I Am the Game, Sparrowvon, Regal Count, Tent Up, Ice And Fire and Warm Season.
Negotiators for Maryland's racetrack managers met with union leaders for three hours yesterday but again made little progress in settling a contract dispute, sources said. Discussions are scheduled to resume Sunday.
According to sources, union employes will assemble at Pimlico Monday morning to vote on a strike. The 600 track personnel affected have worked without a contract since July 1, and sources indicated for the first time that they may be willing to do so for a short time at Pimlico, which begins its summer meeting Monday.
Scari Shari led from start to finish in defeating seven 2-year-old fillies in Bowie's $10,000 feature race yesterday.
Scari Shari (2 to 1), who led by four lengths entering the stretch of the 5 1/2-furlong race, defeated V.R. Swift (9-1) by 2 1/2 lengths. I.M. Wizard (4-1) finished third, a half-length behind V.R. Swift.
Larry Saumell, the track's leading jockey with 35 victories, rode Scari Shari.