Fort Washington, MD --- Since reemerging from bankruptcy in 2011 under the direction of Penn National Gaming, Rosecroft Raceway has provided an economic kick start to Prince George’s County and the Maryland Standardbred industry.
Since reopening in the fall of 2011 the focus at Rosecroft has been on directing racing opportunities and increasing purses towards Maryland horses and horsemen. Penn National Gaming has established a preference system benefitting Maryland horsemen racing at Rosecroft that provides for maximum opportunity for Maryland connected horses. Horses with a Maryland connection now enjoy a 100 percent entry preference at Rosecroft Raceway -- a first in the industry. This current race meet more than 80 percent of the purses earned have been directed to horses and horsemen under this Maryland preference system.
Based on that success, Penn National, Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association, and the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association have agreed to a contract extension that will guarantee live racing at Rosecroft through 2014 with extension options through 2016. All parties agreed that this was a very positive development for the Maryland Standardbred industry.
All parties also agreed that it is critical for the long term survival of Rosecroft that a casino be authorized for Rosecroft Raceway. The decision by the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission on the location of the casino for Prince George’s County is expected in December. Penn National Gaming has pledged that 100 percent of its profits will be directed to both the new Prince George’s County Hospital satellite neighborhood health care system and a new supplemental retirement plan for Prince George’s County educators.
“The hardworking horsemen are very grateful to Penn National for their ongoing commitment to the Maryland Standardbred industry and for their innovative plan to help the residents of Prince George’s County. Rosecroft is the cornerstone of our industry and we are pleased that Penn National understands our importance to Maryland and has worked with us to save an industry that spans generations of families in the state,” said Thomas Cooke, President of the CSOA. “The continued operation of Rosecroft and Penn National’s commitment to Maryland are evidenced by the preferences and this contract extension to insure live racing continues. Penn National has been a very good partner in its relationship with the horsemen and women and we enthusiastically support a casino at Rosecroft. I hope the Selection Commission will keep the families who earn their living from harness racing in mind when they make their decision.”
The Standardbred industry supports more than 1,600 direct jobs, has more than $66 million in assets committed in Maryland and protects more than 18,000 acres of green space in Maryland.
MSBA President Dan Myer commented, “Successful overnight racing is the key to establishing a revitalized breeding industry in Maryland. Our horsemen need a place to race their horses and we appreciate Penn National’s commitment to Maryland Standardbred racing as a whole. This contract extension to preserve live racing and new contract for the MSBA is greatly appreciated.
“As happy as we are about both contracts we all recognize the importance of a casino being based at Rosecroft. The long term survival of the Standardbred industry rests with the decision of the Commission and I hope the Commission members will consider the economic value of our industry as they consider the proposals before them. Only one proposal will save existing jobs and the harness racing industry in this state for the long term.”
”Penn National has enjoyed a good collaborative working relationship with CSOA and MSBA and these extensions will help us continue to rebuild the racing program at Rosecroft to benefit the industry and the state. Penn National Gaming has put forth the best casino plan to benefit Prince George’s County, the state of Maryland and the horse racing industry,” said Chris McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, Inc.
Submitted by Penn National Gaming