01/11/2006 12:00AM

Maryland approves bets under $1

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The Maryland Racing Commission on Tuesday approved a request by a harness track to allow bet denominations lower than one dollar, opening the way for dime superfecta betting in the state.

The request was made by Ocean Downs, a harness track in eastern Maryland, according to Mike Hopkins, the executive director of the racing commission. Regulators will likely be able to adopt formal rules lowering the minimum bet in both harness racing and Thoroughbred racing by May, Hopkins said.

The Maryland Jockey Club, which owns the state's two Thoroughbred tracks, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, has no plans to implement 10-cent bets, according to the MJC's chief operating officer, Lou Raffetto.

"From what we've seen," Raffetto said, "it's not something our fans are clamoring for."