Racing regulators to consider Rosecroft license

The Maryland Racing Commission on July 6 is to consider a request to resume live harness racing at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County after nearly three years.

Rosecroft's new owner, Penn National Gaming, submitted a license application in May with hopes of resuming racing on July 1. The casino operator said it wanted to operate 20 days of live racing this year and 54 days next year.

Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers said Wednesday that the company hoped to receive approval at the July 6 hearing and planned to modify the racing schedule.

Penn National bought bankrupt Rosecroft for $11 million earlier this year. Rosecroft suspended live racing in 2008 to save money, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and closed in July 2010.

Separately, the racing commission agreed Wednesday to draft regulations on how slots revenue allotted for racetrack capital improvements will be disbursed to the state's two harness tracks: Ocean Downs racetrack on the Eastern Shore and Rosecroft. Among the issues to be considered will be the timing of disbursements and the allocation of money between the tracks.

Under state law, the two harness tracks are slated to get 20 percent, while thoroughbred tracks are to receive 80 percent of the capital improvement fund.

But so far, all of the money, totaling $2.26 million as of May, has been used toward repayment of a $3.45 million state loan to the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

That loan was part of an 11th-hour agreement last year that guaranteed live racing in 2011 at the two thoroughbred tracks. The state agreed to a total of $3.6 million, with Maryland's horse owners and breeders groups contributing an additional $1.7 million to help pay for track operations.

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