11/12/2003 1:00AM

Pimlico barns will close


The Maryland Racing Commission voted Tuesday not to intervene in the Maryland Jockey Club's decision to close Pimlico stables this winter. The 6-2 vote set off angry responses from horsemen aimed primarily at Tom McDonough, the commission chairman.

McDonough led the commission's vote not to involve itself in the decision about Pimlico and not to hear testimony from dozens of horsemen who attended the meeting at Laurel Park.

Wayne Wright, executive secretary of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said McDonough is "clearly an ally of the owners and operators of Pimlico and Laurel. He showed a total disregard for the horsemen."

Closing the barn area at Pimlico from Nov. 29 to March 1 is designed to save $600,000 to $700,000, according to the MJC. Horses would be transferred to the MJC's other training centers at Bowie and Laurel.

Trainers appealed to the racing commission for intervention, but McDonough argued that the it should not interfere.

"I think there's a distinction between regulating a business and running a business," he said.