Rosecroft Raceway Awarded 54 Live Racing Dates in 2014
(Fort Washington, MD – November 14, 2013) The Maryland Racing Commission approved Rosecroft Raceway’s 54-day live racing schedule for 2014 at its monthly meeting yesterday. The track’s live racing schedule will be the most for a standardbred racetrack in the state.
Since reopening in the fall of 2011 track owner Penn National Gaming has focused 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. This current race meet over 80% of the purses earned have been directed to horses and horsemen under this Maryland preference system.
Penn National will continue this practice at Rosecroft as it works with the horsemen and breeders to rebuild the Standardbred industry in the state. Penn National Vice President of Racing Christopher McErlean stated, “These preferences are designed to support the hard working horsemen and breeders in Maryland. The purse funds are produced in Maryland and we believe it is consistent with the intent of the Maryland legislature and Governor that purse funds be dedicated to Maryland connected horsemen to rebuild the Standardbred industry in Maryland.”
Cloverleaf Standardbred Owner’s Association Thomas Cooke said, “The continued operation of Rosecroft and Penn National’s commitment to Maryland as evidenced by the preferences and our recent contract extension to insure live racing continues. Penn National has been a very good partner in its relationship with the horsemen and women of Maryland and their commitment to the Maryland Standardbred industry has been very real from the beginning and continues today.”
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. The Maryland preference system along with commitment to live racing is vitally important. This partnership is greatly appreciated.”
Penn National, Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association (CSOA), and the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association (MSBA) have agreed to a contract extension that will guarantee live racing at Rosecroft through 2014 with extension options through 2016.
All parties 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% 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.
Cooke continued, “The standardbred industry in this state enthusiastically support a casino at Rosecroft as we know it is integral to the long term survival of our business into the future. A casino at Rosecroft will lead to more racing dates to further bolster our industry.”
The Standardbred industry supports more than 1600 direct jobs, has more than $66,000,000 in assets committed in Maryland and protects more than 18,000 acres of green space in Maryland.
Myer further stated, “As happy as we are about live racing in 2014 we all recognize the importance of a casino being based at Rosecroft. Only one proposal will save existing jobs and the harness racing industry in this state for the long term and that is the Penn National Gaming proposal.”
”Penn National has enjoyed a good collaborative working relationship with CSOA and MSBA. We are committed to rebuilding the Standardbred industry in Maryland. 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 McErlean.
Penn National Gaming presently owns, operates or has ownership interests in eleven pari-mutuel facilities and is the largest operator of racetracks in North America hosting over 1,200 live racing dates and generating over $1 billion in annual pari-mutuel handle. Penn National operates a total of twenty-nine facilities in nineteen jurisdictions, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Ontario. In aggregate, Penn National’s operated facilities currently feature approximately 36,800 gaming machines, approximately 850 table games, 2,900 hotel rooms and approximately 1.6 million square feet of gaming floor space.