NEW CASTLE, PA., JULY 4 -- A convicted drunken driver, who claims he gambles on horses for a living, will be allowed out of jail each day to go a West Virginia racetrack under a work release program, officials said today.

Albert Mangino of New Castle was due to begin serving his 32-day sentence Wednesday at the Lawrence County Jail.

A jail spokesman said it is customary to grant work release to some inmates so that they can continue to earn a living while they serve their time.

Mangino will be released for eight hours each day to travel to Mountaineer (formerly Waterford) Park in Chester, W.Va., to gamble on horses, the spokesman said.

"I've got to tell you, Mr. Mangino, this is highly unusual," said Common Pleas Judge Ralph Pratt when he handed down the sentence that granted Mangino's request for work release.

Mangino's attorney, Anthony Kosciuszko, provided the court with a letter from the race track's executive director verifying his client's attendance at the track, and a copy of tax records reporting his client's winnings to the IRS.

Mangino pleaded guilty to drunken driving after an automobile accident in November and had been ordered to serve a minimum of 32 days in jail and pay a $300 fine in court costs, court records said.

Under the work release program, prisoners are allowed to spend up to eight hours a day at work, including travel time, and must return to jail each evening.