Day At The Track

If no relief comes forward track will close

10:52 PM 06 Apr 2010 NZST
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Courtesy Of Rosecroft Raceway

Rosecroft Raceway, an original charter member of Harness Tracks of America and one of HTA's stalwart tracks during the Miller family regime and afterwards under its successors, including the present horsemen owners Cloverleaf Enterprises, finally is giving up the good fight.

Unless Maryland legislative relief is forthcoming, Rosecroft will close its simulcasting doors, all that is left of the once thriving track, on April 19.

Rosecroft in its glory days served as a feeder track for Roosevelt and Yonkers Raceways, with Billy Haughton's powerhouse stable and other top harness horsemen using it as a base for getting their 2-year-olds started. It opened in 1949 under the guidance of W. E. Miller, and continued under his son John and grandson Bill, ultimately being run by advertising executive Earle Palmer Brown, who became president of HTA in 1978-79.

Mark Vogel, one of the subsequent owners, was deeply involved again in trying to rescue and buy the operation, and yesterday's closing release noted that Vogel remains the contract purchaser of the track.

The sale, however, was vetoed by a bankruptcy judge, who denied Cloverleaf's motion to sell substantially all of its assets to Vogel. Yesterday, stripped of that possible sale, Cloverleaf's president Kelly Rogers notified its member horsemen and current 200 employees that the simulcasting operation would cease in two weeks.

He left the door slightly open, saying Cloverleaf "will be working with Mr. Vogel to structure and establish a traditional Chapter 11 plan which satisfied the concerns of the bankruptcy court and the unsecured creditors. This will likely involve a greater investment on Mr. Vogel's part, a commitment guaranteed by Mr. Vogel for Debtor in Possession financing so Rosecroft can continue to operate, and will delay his closing on Rosecroft to become our new owner.

"Mr. Vogel will be in a financial position to absorb the necessary losses to stabilize Rosecroft's future if we can be successful in our pursuit of legislation currently pending before the Maryland legislature. While we are disappointed with the court's decision, we will respect the legal process and move forward with plans to save Rosecroft. Mr. Vogel is committed to working with us and providing the necessary dollars needed for our survival if we can obtain some help from the legislature."

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