Day At The Track

Rosecroft racing applications available

06:27 AM 09 Feb 2016 NZDT
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Rosecroft Raceway
Rosecroft Raceway

The 27-date winter - spring harness racing season at Rosecroft Raceway kicks off Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Racing applications are now available at www.rosecroft.com under the "Horsemen" section and must be submitted for consideration by February 24.

A significant change for the upcoming meet will be the introduction of Sunday twilight racing with a 4:40 p.m. post time. The traditional Tuesday night (6:40 p.m. post time) will remain, and Rosecroft will special host Saturday night cards on the three thoroughbred "Triple Crown" event days - May 7 (Kentucky Derby), May 21 (Preakness) and June 11 (Belmont Stakes.) Post time will be 6:40 p.m. on those Saturday night cards.

"We have developed a very nice niche on Tuesday evenings in the simulcast marketplace and we thought Sundays might be an opportunity to draw a new on-track audience and also serve an underserved part of the harness simulcast marketplace," said Peter Hanley, Racing Secretary for Rosecroft. "The Triple Crown dates always bring in a strong crowd so having live racing during those events makes sense as well," Hanley added.

Full fields, competitive and quality races have been the on upswing for Rosecroft over the past several years and 2016 is likely to continue that trend. "We will start off with a purse increase over 2015 (pushing purses to a nightly average of over $80,000 per night) and our Maryland Preferred horses (Maryland owned, bred and sired) will now be eligible for a 20% bonus on earnings (up from 15% in 2015)," said Hanley.

Rosecroft also hopes to keep the wagering momentum on its races going in 2016. "On-track handle last year (2015was up 5% and our export handle was up over 50%, even with lightly less races vs. 2014," said Christopher McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, Inc., parent company of Rosecroft Raceway. "The goal since we took over in 2011 (after the track's bankruptcy) was to continuously rebuild the racing program. Those efforts are starting to show in the key metrics of our business," said McErlean.

Qualifying races are scheduled for Saturday, February 27 and Tuesday, March 1 at 12 noon, weather permitting. Due to the new racing schedule weekly qualifiers will be held on Tuesday evenings prior to the live races. The draw schedule will be Wednesdays for Sundays and Thursdays for Tuesdays with the entry box closing at 10 a.m. each morning. The first condition sheet of the meet should be available the week of February 15.

Christopher McErlean

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