Search Results
1 to 16 of 225
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

(Fort Washington, MD - August 5, 2015) The 27-night summer-fall racing season at Rosecroft Raceway kicks off Saturday, September 19, 2015. Racing applications are now available at under the "Horsemen" section and must be submitted for consideration by August 31. "The racing program continues to gain momentum at Rosecroft and we anticipate a purse increase going into this summer - fall meet," said Peter Hanley, Rosecroft Racing secretary. Since reopening in the fall of 2011 after a fifteen month bankruptcy period, Rosecroft Raceway has shown continued improvement in its live racing program. Average daily purses, which were $20,000 in 2011, are now near $70,000 for each live card, not including bonus programs linked to Maryland owner and breeding preferences. "Our focus continues on trying to make racing more sustainable for the Maryland horsemen," said Christopher McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, Inc., parent company of Rosecroft. "In working with Cloverleaf Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (CSOA) and the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association (MSBA) we continue to look for ways to improve our racing product both for the racing customer, and for horsemen, owners and breeders who are making large investments in the state," McErlean said. "There are still many concerns we have about outside factors affecting the long term stability of this business but we will continue to move forward as best we can," he added. Qualifying races are scheduled for Saturday, September 12 in conjunction with the Maryland State Fair which is making its first appearance at Rosecroft. The fair runs September 10 to the 13th on the grounds of the racetrack. In order to qualify, racing applications must be submitted and approved in advance. The summer - fall meet will run through Saturday, December 19 with racing every Tuesday and Saturday evening at 6:40 p.m. Christopher McErlean

(Fort Washington, MD - April 3, 2014) - Wagering is brisk through the first eight live harness racing dates in the month of March at Rosecroft Raceway. Buoyed by Tuesday night's racing cards that have been featured on the nationally distributed racing network TVG, total wagering on Rosecroft's live races is up 88% over the same time period in 2014. The $284,952 wagered on and off-track on the Tuesday, March 10 racing card was the highest since June 6, 2008. "We have positioned our best race classes for Tuesday's knowing there was a possible niche in the national simulcast calendar. The racing has been competitive and we seem to be building some momentum and continuity in the marketplace," said Christopher McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, Inc., parent company of Rosecroft. Racing continues every Tuesday and Saturday evening at Rosecroft through June 6. Post time is 6:40 p.m. Christopher McErlean      

Ft. Washington, MD --- Maryland native Frank Milby guided Beammeupscottie to victory in the ninth race on Tuesday night (March 24) at Rosecroft Raceway, giving the defending Rosecroft dash champion win number 2,000 in his harness racing career. Milby left from post five and stretched out Casimir Lawman (Roger Plante) who led through the third quarter in 1:24.3 while under pressure from Lone Raider (Brandon Henley). Milby edged the son of Rustler Hanover into the passing lane to win by a half-length in 1:54. Gloria Kinnamon owns Beammeupscottie and he is conditioned by Brian Callahan who had three wins on the night. Trainer John McIntyre also had three wins on the evening as well. Roger Plante guided all three of the McIntyre trainees to victory. by Pete Medhurst, for Rosecroft Raceway Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

(Fort Washington, MD - January 29, 2015) The sixty-sixth season of live harness racing at Rosecroft Raceway kicks off Saturday, March 7, 2015. Racing Applications for the 27-night winter-spring meet are now available at under the "Horsemen" section and must be submitted for consideration by February 15. Since reopening in the fall of 2011 after a fifteen month bankruptcy period, Rosecroft Raceway has shown continued improvement in its racing program. Average daily purses, which were $20,000 in 2011, are now approaching $70,000 for each live card, not including any bonus programs. "The focus has been on providing racing and earning opportunities for Maryland based owners, horsemen and breeders," said Christopher McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, Inc., parent company of Rosecroft. "In working with Cloverleaf Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (CSOA) and the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association (MSBA) we have been able to create a strong bonus and preference program to reward Maryland horsemen which has led to more investment and higher quality horses competing at Rosecroft. The Maryland Preferred preference system provides entry priority to qualified Maryland owners and trainers as well as horses sired, bred and foaled in the state. All Maryland preferred eligible horses are eligible to earn a 15% bonus on all purse earnings at Rosecroft. In the fall of 2014 over 80% of the horses competing at Rosecroft were Maryland preferred eligible with those horses earning over 80% of the potential purses. "A large portion of the purses are now generated through gaming at Maryland casinos and the Maryland preferred program helps to keep those funds circulating through the Maryland economy," said McErlean. "Our fall meet last year had some nice momentum near the end, with total wagering on live racing up approximately six percent and our Tuesday night races on the TVG network on a regular basis. We have positioned our top class races on Tuesday's to capitalize on that niche in the simulcast marketplace," added McErlean. Qualifying races are scheduled for Saturday, February 28 at 11 a.m., weather permitting. In order to qualify, applications must be submitted and approved in advance. The winter-spring meet will run through Saturday, June 6 with racing every Tuesday and Saturday evening at 6:40 p.m. The 27-date fall meet will commence Saturday, September 19. Christopher McErlean    

This Saturday night (Dec. 13) at Rosecroft Raceway, Freddie Hudson, co-author of the book Roosevelt Raceway Where It All Began, will be conducting a pre-release book signing of the much anticipated book and will also be posing for pictures. The book tells the story of a man who turned a dream into a reality and created the number one harness track in the world. The bribery of politicians, the behind the scenes gangsters, scandals, alleged race fixing, court room drama and some great racing are all part of the story of Long Island’s Roosevelt Raceway. A must read for all from start to finish. The book's official release date is Dec. 30 and it will then be available nationwide through book stores and online at For more information regarding this Saturday's book signing, please contact Rosecroft Raceway at 301.567.4500. by Fred Hudson,

Tina Duer's Chinese Cuisine continued a record breaking fall meet at Rosecroft Raceway by setting a mark for all trotters, winning the $10,000 Open in 1:53.4. Trainer-Driver John Duer was in the bike for the son of Revenue S.   Duer put Chinese Cuisine on the lead just after the first quarter and posted fractions of :56, 1:24.2 and coming home in 29.2 to win by nearly 5 lengths over House On Fire (Jonathan Roberts) and Molly B'Golly (Donnie Russell).   It was the fourth different track record broken this fall at Rosecroft and knocked Mandabra, Pekoe Fashion and Hambletonian Champion Vivid Photo from the record book.   Lord terror gave trainer Eric Ell his third different Open pace winner of the meet as Mike Beaver steered the son of Western Terror to a half-length victory over Lyons Meandragon (Roger Plante) and Game Day (Corey Braden) in 1:52.2.   Roberts and Brian Burton had driving doubles on the card.   To watch the replay of the race click below:   by Pete Medhurst, for Rosecroft Raceway  

Chinese Cuisine (6g Revenue - Missysmandarine-Malabar Man) took a gate to wire victory in tonight's $6,000 monte test at Rosecroft Raceway. Raced as a non-betting event, owner Tina Duer effectively teamed the winner, trained by John Duer, to a six length win over Flowing James and Tara Hynes with third to Point Of Honour with Jenny Melander aboard. Chinese Cuisine was timed in 1:59.2f to record the score over five rivals. Thomas H. Hicks

Ft. Washington, MD --- Jonathan Roberts navigated four winners on the Tuesday night (Oct. 21) card at Rosecroft Raceway. Roberts now leads the fall meet with 29 wins overall. Roberts posted a win in the co-featured Open for fillies and mares, steering Rockin Belle to victory from post six. Rockin Belle sat the pocket trip and took the passing lane to victory, nailing the pacesetter Clear View Hanover (Henrik Lundell) in 1:53.3. Dylan Davis conditions and co-owns with longtime owner Michael Casalino Jr. Tony Morgan took the $10,000 Open with Varsity Hanover. Surviving a :26.1 opening quarter, Varsity Hanover did all the work en route to a 1:52.3 win on a sloppy track. Morgan won a pair on the night and is a perfect three-for-three driving Varsity Hanover during the Fall meet. by Pete Medhurst, for Rosecroft Raceway

Ft. Washington, MD --- Beavercreek Artist (Art Stafford Jr.) set a new Rosecroft track record for older geldings on Tuesday night (Sept. 30), winning the $13,000 Open Pace in 1:49.4 over Movie Idol (Corey Callahan) and pacesetter Shady Breeze (Tony Morgan). Eric Ell conditions the 6-year-old gelding by Artiscape for owners Kenny Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta. The Open two division for $10,000 was taken by another pocket rocket as Lyons Meandragon scooted up the passing lane to win by a neck over pacesetter Jeremes General and Osceola Gold. Roger Plante Jr. was the winning driver at 36-1, for trainer John McIntyre and owner William Sartin. The $10,000 Open Trot was taken by favorite Bossy Volo. The 8-year-old son ofYankee Glide sat second as Beau Joe (William Long) cut the mile from post eight. Driver Donnie Russell tipped Bossy Volo out at the top of the stretch and he scored an easy win over Fiorenza (Cory Mumford) while Beau Joe held for third. Four Maryland Sire Stakes championships were contested before the night time card began. Wynnfield Sunset took the 2-year-old filly trot for owner-trainer Pam Polk who also bred the daughter of Doggone Yankee-Wynnfield Molly. The time of the mile was 2:01.4. Toms Tornado (Jonathan Roberts) scored in the final for 2-year-old colts and geldings in 1:55.3 for owner Tom Cooke and trainer Roger Hans. The winner is a son of Cam's Rocket-Nuclear Folks. The 21-year-old driver Brandon Henley picked up his biggest win to date, scoring the 2-year old filly pace with Helaine's Firebird in 1:59.2 for owner Frank Chick and trainer Kevin Lare. She is a daughter of Allie's Western-Flannel Yankee. Jay Boy (Corey Braden) was the class of the 2-year old colt and geldings trotters, scoring in 2:00.2. He is a son of Tsunami-Russian Caviar, owned and trained by Syl King, Jr. All divisions were contested for $42,000 purses. by Pete Medhurst, for Rosecroft Raceway 

(Fort Washington, MD-September 10, 2014) Rosecroft Raceway announced today that the track will continue live racing operations and will be applying for 2015 race dates. Rosecroft is about to start the track's 27-night Summer-Fall meet on September 13th. "We will applying for the same number of dates (54) for live racing at Rosecroft in 2015 under the same terms, conditions and preferences that we operated our live race meet this year," stated Chris McErlean, Vice President-Racing, Penn National Gaming. "While we are disappointed that Rosecroft was not selected as the gaming destination for Prince George's County, Penn National Gaming remains committed to Maryland, Rosecroft and of course our Maryland Horsemen. We are working with the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association and the Maryland Breeders Association to find ways to ensure a long term future for Maryland racing at Rosecroft. We understand the value Rosecroft provides for our horsemen, track employees and the Prince George's community," said McErlean. 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% entry preference at Rosecroft Raceway-a first in the industry and the only racetrack in Maryland to offer such consideration to Maryland's horsemen. This current race meet over 80% of the purses earned have been directed to horses and horsemen under this Maryland preference system. "We felt it was in the horsemen's best interest to announce our intentions for next year early so they can make their racing plans and have some stability for next year. We are looking forward to working with CSOA to develop a long term strategy for Rosecroft," McErlean concluded. Formal submission of the 2015 racing dates will be submitted to the Maryland Racing Commission in early October. Rosecroft will kick off the meet with a special "Back to the Track" promotion on Saturday, September 13 and will continue every Tuesday and Saturday evening through December 13. Post time is 6:40 p.m. The condition sheet for the first two nights of racing are now posted at From Penn National Gaming

(Wyomissing, PA - August 19, 2014) Penn National Gaming, Inc., (PNGI) the largest operator of Standardbred racetracks in North America, will institute the new Trackmaster automated morning line system at all of its harness racing facilities effective immediately. PNGI owns and operates Hollywood Casino, Hotel and Raceway (Bangor, ME), the new Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, Plainridge Racecourse and Rosecroft Raceway. PNGI is also joint venture partner with Greenwood Racing, Inc. at Freehold Raceway. "This new morning line feature from Trackmaster should help bring consistency to our morning line process and also provide a reliable starting point for our wagering guests," said Christopher McErlean, Vice President of Racing for PNGI. "With the implementation of the USTA's on-line entry system at all of our harness tracks and the use of its automated post position draw system, the Penn Gaming harness tracks are using all the technology tools available to streamline our racing office processes and offer user friendly services to our horsemen and the wagering public," added McErlean. In addition, Rosecroft Raceway will institute a new simulcast graphics system with enhanced racing information and statistics generated by Trackmaster when its summer-fall meet begins September 13. "We think these informative graphic enhancements will help handicappers on-track and at all our simulcast locations," said McErlean. The upcoming Penn National Gaming harness meets include: Plainridge Racecourse: In progress Freehold Raceway: August 28 Rosecroft Raceway: September 13 Dayton Raceway: October 3 Bangor Raceway: October 6 Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PNGI) is the largest operator of pari-mutuel facilities in North America with 12 racetracks in 10 different jurisdictions featuring Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Greyhound racing. PNGI conducts over 1,100 live racing performances a year with over $1 billion in pari-mutuel wagers processed annually. PNGI also operates five off-track wagering facilities and a regional Internet/Telephone account wagering system. PNGI is also one of the largest regional gaming operators in North America with 27 facilities in 18 different jurisdictions with over 31,000 gaming machines, 800 table games and 2,900 hotel rooms. From Penn National Gaming, Inc.  

(August 18, 2014 - Wyomissing, PA) Three racetracks operated by Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PNGI), the largest operator of harness racetracks in North America, will be active participants in the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) "Back to the Track" program over the next month. The "Back to the Track" program is an initiative to encourage on-track attendance at harness racetracks across the country through promotions and interactive events. More information on the program can be found at "Back to the Track is a great way to bring new guests to our tracks and also say 'thank you' to our loyal customers as well," said PNGI Vice President of Racing Christopher McErlean. "Plainridge, Freehold and Rosecroft each have come up with some unique events and activities for their guests to enjoy," he added. Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, MA, the newest member of the PNGI racing family, will be hosting a full weekend of events and live racing on August 23 and 24. On both days the Hambletonian Trophy, Harness Racing's most prestigious prize, will be on display. The trophy was won by the locally owned and trained Royalty for Life in 2013. On Saturday, barn tours will be conducted from 12 noon to 2 p.m. with all participants to be entered in drawings to announce a post parade on either day, ride in the starting gate car and participate in an exhibition race on Sunday with top Plainridge drivers. Plainridge drivers will participate in a meet and greet on both days and serving customers in a special cook out area during both afternoons. Drivers will also give out commemorative "Back to the Track" t-shirts following each race. A free scratch off ticket will be given to all guests Sunday with a $50,000 grand prize. The "$50,000 Match and Win" promotion is sponsored by Mom's Motorcycles of Foxboro, MA. Post time Saturday, August 23 is 4 p.m. Post time on Sunday, August 24 is 1 p.m. Admission and parking is free at Plainridge every live racing day. For more information go to Freehold Raceway in Freehold, NJ will be hosting "Back to the Track" events on Labor Day, September 1 during its afternoon live racing program. All guests will receive a free "Back to the Track" baseball cap with the purchase of a Freehold live racing program (while supplies last.) Drawings throughout the day will be conducted for "Back to the Track" t-shirts and Season Parking passes. Fifty-cent ($.50) hot dog and soda specials will be offered as well as a driver autograph session. Post time Labor Day is 12:30 p.m. and admission is free. For more information go to Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD will celebrate "Back to the Track" as part of its summer-fall meet opening night on Saturday, September 13. The first 400 guests after 6 p.m. will receive a free "Back to the Track" t-shirt and guests will have a chance to enter losing tickets all evening for "Second Chance" drawings after races 5, 7 and 9 for $50 betting vouchers. In addition, a popular Asian Festival will be held all day Saturday, September 13 in the Rosecroft parking lots. Post time on September 13 is 6:4 0 p.m. with free admission and parking. For more information go to Christopher McErlean

(Fort Washington, MD-August 11, 2014) Rosecroft Raceway will continue live harness racing with a Summer-Fall meet scheduled to begin on September 13.. Rosecroft will continue to emphasize its on-going commitment to rebuild the Standardbred industry in Maryland by continuing to offer a 100% preference to Maryland connected horses in all races. "We are committed to Maryland racing and helping to rebuild this industry," said Chris McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, parent company of Rosecroft Raceway. "We are working side by side in conjunction with the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association and the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association to revive Standardbred racing in Maryland," McErlean continued. One special focus at the beginning of the summer-fall meet will be newly added prep races for 2 and 3 year-old Maryland Sires Stakes eligible horses. The two-year-old divisions will be raced on September 13 and the 3-year-old division will be raced on September 16. Each prep race will go for a purse of $3,000. "Horsemen understand that Maryland must have a strong breeding industry to survive. The efforts of the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association to promote growth the Maryland Sire Stakes program are admirable and Rosecroft is pleased to see the growth and attention it is now receiving. I am very happy for our racetrack to play a part in this renewal working with MSBA," concluded McErlean. Finals for the Maryland Sire Stakes will be conducted at Rosecroft on Saturday, September 27 (3-year-old races) and Tuesday, September 30 (2-year-old races.) Maryland Standardbred Breeders President Dan Myer said, "One again Rosecroft has come through for the Maryland Breeding industry. We are very pleased to be working with the Rosecroft team to promote the Maryland Sires Stakes." Horsemen who are interested in learning more about breeding in Maryland or participating in our program may contact Dan Myer at 410-603-1585 or visit the website at Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association President Tom Cooke offered the following comment, "We are very pleased to be working together with our colleagues from MSBA and wish to acknowledge our appreciation for Penn National Gaming and Rosecroft. Penn National has continued to operate Rosecroft under difficult financial situations and their commitment to the Maryland Standardbred horsemen has been fantastic. We are anxious to do our part in helping this partnership continue so Maryland racing thrives." The 2014 Rosecroft live racing meet will continue through December 13. Horsemen may contact Sharon Roberts or Gina Maybee in the CSOA office with questions or for help at 301-567-9636. Racing applications are available at or through the CSOA office and should be submitted by August 25th. Chris McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming    

(Fort Washington, MD - August 8, 2014) Racing Applications for the 2014 Summer-Fall race meet at Rosecroft Raceway are now available at The 27-date meet will commence Saturday, September 13 with live racing every Tuesday and Saturday through December 13. A purse increase of approximately 5% will be part of the fall purse structure, bringing the overnight purses to an average of approximately $65,000 per race date. Rosecroft will continue to provide additional incentives for Maryland racing participants including entry preferences and a 15% purse earnings bonus for "Maryland Preferred" horses and horsemen. "The racing program at Rosecroft continues to improve and Maryland horsemen and horses are the biggest beneficiary with over 80% of the starters and purse earnings going to Maryland owners, trainers or horses bred, sired or foaled in the state," said Chris McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, parent company of Rosecroft Raceway. The first condition sheet of the meet should be posted by August 29. Qualifiers will be held Saturday, September 6 starting at 11 a.m. First race post time for live racing will be 6:40 p.m. Christopher McErlean

Two divisions of the NY RUS Series took place this week at Norwich, NY with the first $500 division going to My Irish Molly with Jocelyn Lavigne in the irons. Trained by Truman Gale, the winner, a nine year-old mare by Psychic Spirit-Fox Valley Blondie-Armbro Charger, scored in 2:13.4h for owner Donn Lewandrowski over John-michael (Tara Hynes up) and Kash Now (Michelle Miller), both of these trained by Michael Miller. The second division went to Vassar Hall in 2:07.4h for Michelle Crawford. This pair covered the last half in 1:02.4 for trainer Brett Crawford, co-owner with Len Wojdyla. The ten year-old mare by Striking Sahbra-Vera Hall-Conway Hall defeated Truth In Action (Karen Isbell) and Magic Cheque (Tara Hynes). Separately, plans moved forward for a monte event at Rosecroft Raceway on October 18. A fund-raising effort is underway spearheaded by rider Tara Hynes. Supporter financial participation is welcome by going to All monies raised will go to the purse for the Rosecroft race. Thomas H. Hicks           Renaissance Partners LLC   Thomas H. Hicks, Managing Partner   3508 Sahara Springs Blvd.   Pompano Beach, FL 33069   954-971-3555 Tel FL Office   704-844-0600 Tel NC Office   954-415-6369 Cel   704-845-1176 Fax           Experience > Value, Integrity, Performance       The information above and attached, if any, may contain privileged and confidential information intended only for the use of the person(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any review, dissemination, distribution and duplication of this communication is strictly prohibited. Please notify the sender by email and destroy all copies of the original message. Thank you.      

There are few, if any, issues facing the harness racing industry where all segments are in complete agreement. Just mention of words like whipping, takeout or Lasix® evokes countless vocal opinions across a broad spectrum. If ever there was a matter on which the entire horseracing community could stand uniformly positioned, it is the obstinate insistence by the Internal Revenue Service to treat horseplayers differently from all other types of investors with regard to withholding of portions of their winning wagers. On June 6, the United States Trotting Association joined a chorus of prominent industry groups, publications and federal officeholders in calling on the I.R.S. to stop harming racing by failing to either understand or appreciate the unique nature of 21st century pari-mutuel betting. This lack of knowledge or concern results in the unfair calculation of the amount of tax withholdings assessed against handicappers who successfully prevail when playing super-exotics. Fortunately, much has recently been written about the withholding problem in industry publications. This article will identify the problem; summarize how the industry is attempting to formulate a solution, and how you can play a part in getting the solution implemented. In our grandfathers’ day, tracks offered only win, place and show wagering, later adding a revolutionary bet called the daily double. In essence, it was difficult to make an outrageous score on a $2 wager. Very few horses go off at 99-1 or better, and only an infinitesimal amount of them actually win.   Only the rare daily double pays in the hundreds of dollars. Today, the superfecta, pick-six and other combination and parlay offerings constitute the lion’s share of wagers made on horse races. These dominant betting opportunities often produce payoffs in the tens of thousands of dollars for a single $2 wager. Of course, winning the big one is usually not simply an exercise of pure luck; professional players often invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in an attempt to cover as many potential outcomes as possible. By anticipating the probable value of a payoff, the bettor assesses the risk and intensively wagers accordingly. These plays constitute what is aptly called gambling, but arguably the gamble is little different than, for example, those involved in oil wildcatting or opening of a high-end restaurant. Of course, it’s the province and duty of the I.R.S. to assess and collect taxes. If a bettor hits a score over $600 and the odds are 299-1 or more, the track is required to report the winnings on I.R.S. Form W-2G. In applying this law, consider a bettor who cashes a $50 win ticket on a horse at 50-1 odds and receives $2,550. Since the odds were less than 299-1, there is no reporting requirement. Conversely, if a neophyte bets a single, straight $2 superfecta on his 4-digit street number and hits for $1,000, the lucky first-timer would go home with lots of cash, as well as a copy of Form W-2G which the track uses to report his gain to the I.R.S.       While the reporting rules might appear to produce conflicting results, the true concern involves the area of mandatory withholding on certain winning wagers.  Although the I.R.S. recognizes that legitimate expenses are to be subtracted from gross revenue in calculating taxable profit for a business venture, the problem is that the assessment of tax withholding from supposed “profit” in the racing realm is skewed, to say the least. The applicable section of the Internal Revenue Code requires racetracks to withhold 25% of purported profit when the bettor wins more than $5,000 from a wagering transaction in a pari-mutuel pool with respect to horse races, provided the amount of such proceeds is at least 300 times as large as the amount wagered. From the statutory language, it plainly appears that Congress intended that the total amount wagered into a particular pool be treated as the handicapper’s investment capital. Like in any other business, that capital investment should serve to reduce by equal amount his gross winnings when calculating his profit for withholding purposes. Unfortunately, congressional intent in the tax realm is solely determined by the I.R.S. In a 1976 private letter ruling, a vehicle by which the I.R.S. gives its guidance to taxpayers under a set of submitted facts, the Service determined that only the investment on the actual winning combination counts as the “wagering transaction in a pari-mutuel pool” for tax reporting and withholding purposes. How does the present application of this archaic Service interpretation of the Code create the problem? Assume a gambler invests $800 to cover 400 possible pick-six combinations at $2 a pop. He hits the parlay, and it pays $5,600. While the payout is over $5,000, the fortunate bettor really only received odds of about 6-1 in relation to his investment: or did he? The I.R.S. takes the position that only the wager on the winning combination, and not the other 399, constitutes the specific “wagering transaction” referenced in the Code. In other words, rather than credit his entire $800 outlay in the pick-six pool as congress unmistakably envisioned, the Service credits only the $2 spent on the cashed winning combo. Thus, while only receiving 6-1 on his total investment, his I.R.S. imputed odds are about 2,800-1. This triggers not just Form W-2G reporting, but also a 25% tax withholding on winnings. The racehorse gambler actually walks away from the mutual window with $1,399.50 less of the payoff. The overwhelming majority of horseplayers don’t invest thousands of dollars into super-exotic pools on a regular basis. Should we cry for the successful, high-end handicapping aficionados? Maybe not; but the concern is that some of these folks might place their investment capital elsewhere.  Undoubtedly, some already have. This simply drains the already well-parched pari-mutuel pools. Moreover, by taking 25% of earnings out of the hands of the career players who are still around, the industry loses churn; meaning that instead of being able to wager this money again and again, the sum literally sits on account with the Service unless and until the big gambler can recoup it months later via her federal tax return filing. This decrease in handle, especially in racing states with no alternative gaming, is devastating. Racetrack managements, horsemen, breeders and the state all miss out on countless sums of takeout dollars. Luckily, it doesn’t take an act of congress to reverse this situation. While previous attempts at congressional clarification have failed, the problem isn’t really with the language of the law, but rather with how the I.R.S. inexcusably construes it against horseplayers. Consider a medium-sized retailer who embarks on a $1,000,000 marketing campaign. The endeavor actually yields a 6% increase in gross sales. Would the I.R.S. limit the deduction for the marketing expenditure to $60,000? Hardly. Yet, the I.R.S. withholds pari-mutuel earnings as if only that tiny fraction of the total investment made by the horseplayer allocated to the single winning combo was his cost of doing business. You can help change this surreal circumstance by adding your name to an online petition already supported by thousands of individuals and groups. The petition simply mirrors what at least 17 members of congress have already demanded: That the I.R.S change course and consider the total amount invested by a taxpayer in a pari-mutuel pool when determining whether tax withholding on winnings is warranted. A link to the Petition is here:   Apparently, the Washington-based tax lawyers working for the Service don’t frequent Rosecroft Raceway or Laurel Park. If they did, they’d understand the business of pari-mutuel wagering from the big bettors’ prospective. We can only hope that they amend their tax guidance in this matter soon, while there are still some whales around that can benefit. Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network. Chris E. Wittstruck Courtesy of the USTA web newsroom

1 to 16 of 225
1 2 3 4 5 Next »