06/07/2004 11:00PM

Preakness boosts Pimlico

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Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore made up losses in in-state betting with increases in wagering on its Preakness Stakes card, allowing the track to finish virtually even with last year's all-sources handle figures during its 48-day spring meet.

All-sources handle, counting betting on the track's races and betting by customers on out-of-state signals, was $266.2 million this year, up slightly from last year's total of $265 million, also during a 48-day meet, according to figures provided by Pimlico. Pimlico's meet began on March 31 and ended Sunday.

In-state wagering declined 15.5 percent, from $115.2 million to $97.4 million, largely because betting on Thoroughbred races in Maryland was limited during most of the meet. Pimlico's agreement to trade simulcast signals with Rosecroft Raceway, a harness track, expired on March 31, and when negotiations broke down between the two parties April 19, Pimlico and its sister track, Laurel Park, were required to close at 6:15 p.m. daily. Thoroughbred signals were also unavailable at Rosecroft.

Record betting on the May 15 Preakness Stakes card made up the losses. This year, wagering on the Preakness card was $87.9 million, an increase of $23.5 million from last year. In total, $168.7 million was bet on Pimlico's races at out-of-state sites, an increase of 12.7 percent over last year's figure of $149.7 million.