State harness track owner is arrested on cocaine charge in Virginia

September 19, 1990|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Evening Sun Staff

Mark Vogel, whose monopoly ownership of the state's two remaining trotting tracks has created uneasiness among some segments of Maryland's harness racing industry, has been arrested in Virginia on charges of possessing cocaine.

Vogel was arrested in the Great Falls area of Fairfax county last Thursday night by county police after he was stopped by agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Reports indicate that a small amount of cocaine, about four grams, was found in Vogel's car, which was seized by police. Vogel is said to be the subject of an ongoing probe by federal drug authorities.

After spending three hours in jail, Vogel was released after posting a $10,000 bond. District Court officials have set Oct. 16 as a date for a preliminary hearing in the case.

Vogel, 42, bought Rosecroft Raceway and Delmarva Downs in 1987 after making millions in the then-booming Washington area real estate market. Last year he became the center of controversy when it was revealed he had paid a reported $7.5 million for the dates of Freestate Raceway from the late Frank De Francis. Vogel then transferred the dates to Rosecroft after some lengthy hearings before the state racing commission. The De Francis estate eventually sold the Freestate plant to the Cafritz Group, a Washington-based development company, and the track was shut down.

When Vogel sought commission approval for the dates transfer, reports surfaced about some financial difficulties within the Vogel organization. But the commission eventually approved the transfer.

Ironically, Vogel's arrest last week came just a few days after Rosecroft set a one-night betting record for a state harness track. Nearly $1.2 million was bet at Rosecroft Sept. 8, eclipsing an old Freestate record. The track also had been successful this summer by simulcasting races from its Delmarva plant to Rosecroft.

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