News that Robert Hancock will not be back as mutuels manager at Laurel when that track opens its long meeting Sept. 21 came as a surprise to race track employes, who fear the move is the start of housecleaning by co-owner Frank DeFrancis.
Hancock, 66, has been the mutuels manager at Laurel since 1974. He will be replaced by Jim Mango, currently DeFrancis' executive assistant at Freestate Raceway, DeFrancis' harness track.
"Jim Mango has done almost every phase of operating a track possible," said DeFrancis. "We work well together, hence his assignment as mutuels manager. No, there is no large-scale changing of the guard, so to speak. Mango is simply my man for Laurel."
The racing stewards at Pimlico would not comment this week about the results of the urinalysis on suspended jockey John Baboolal. Head steward Clinton P. Pitts, Jr. said that while the investigation is being conducted there will be no comment.
But sources said the tests were being closely examined and showed some positive results.
Baboolal was taken off his mounts at Pimlico last Monday when an official ordered the urinalysis. Two syringes found in the area of the jockey's locker were "to administer vitamin B-12," according to Baboolal, who said he would retain attorney Gerald Kunis for his hearing.
Veteran gelding Boston Tea's victory on yesterday's card at Pimlico was for a $5,000 claiming tag.
When the 7-year-old was at his peak, he won three added-money events while being ridden by apprentice riders. Each of those three apprentices -- Lisa Ruch, Joe Merlino and William Jenkins -- was winning a stakes race for the first time.
Boston Tea has now won more than $232,000, capturing 14 races out of 76 starts.
Birthday Fling led all the way in winning the $17,000 Mississippi Mud Purse at Pimlico yesterday.
The funeral for trainer Harrison Johnson, who was killed in an airplane crash Monday evening while returning from a trip to Saratoga, will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville.