Rosecroft Raceway may reopen this weekend

Daily Record Business Writer
May 1, 2009 12:53 PM

Rosecroft Raceway, which earlier this week had its simulcast wagering signal yanked, may be back open to take bets on the Kentucky Derby Saturday.

A Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order that would allow the track to regain its televised signal for thoroughbred racing and simulcast wagering, but it is contingent upon payment of a $2 million bond — money that raceway owner Kelley Rogers says he does not have.

Rogers and his attorney are asking the judge to change the order to require a cash bond in the “hundreds of thousands,” Rogers said. With about $700,000 in cash on hand, the bond payment would nearly deplete the raceway’s immediate funds but keep it open for one of its biggest moneymaking days of the year.

Rogers said this year’s projected profit from bets placed during the Kentucky Derby day is about $140,000, if Rosecroft reopens.

The Maryland Racing Commission voted to shut off Rosecroft’s signal after Rogers said he was refusing to pay a $5.9 million fee this year for the right to carry the thoroughbred racing signal. Since last year, Rosecroft has been unable to afford live harness racing and the simulcast wagering is its only source of betting income.

In 2006, Rosecroft and the thoroughbred industry (the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association) struck a 15-year deal that required Rosecroft pay $5.6 million annually for the right to simulcast and take bets on thoroughbred racing.

The deal was approximately $2 million less than the previous agreement, according to the horsemen’s association’s general counsel.

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