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Labor secretary ready to lead mediation on simulcast talks

Justice SystemJob MarketPenn National GamingThe Jockey Club Incorporated

Maryland labor secretary Alexander Sanchez will begin leading mediation next week on a new simulcasting agreement between Rosecroft Raceway and representatives of Maryland's thoroughbred racing industry.

The state-led mediation comes after Penn National Gaming, Rosecroft's owner, and the Maryland Jockey Club, along with thoroughbred owners and breeders, failed to reach a deal Friday.

A state law aimed at helping the struggling racing industry called for mediation if an agreement is not struck. The parties have until Oct. 1 before the talks enter arbitration under the law.

Rosecroft stopped paying millions in fees to the thoroughbred industry in 2009, saying the money-losing operation could no longer afford the agreement. The deal gave Rosecroft the right to broadcast thoroughbred races at the Prince George's County track.

At issue now is the revenue split between Rosecroft and the various thoroughbred parties.

Michael Raia, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, said the secretary is ready to lead mediation, having kept tabs on the talks and been in contact with the various parties.

"The Department of Labor is actively engaged and monitoring the situation close," Raia said Friday. "We're hopeful that an agreement will be reached and that we will come up with a long-term plan for a sustainable future for racing in the state."

Hanah.cho@baltsun.com

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