Vogel's tracks stir no buyer interest

October 03, 1990|By Dale Austin | Dale Austin,Sun Staff Correspondent

LAUREL -- The announcement that Mark Vogel is willing to sell his two Maryland harness racing tracks has not created interest among groups usually considered to be likely purchasers.

It was announced Monday by lawyer Paul Mark Sandler that Vogel, a financially troubled real estate developer from Prince George's County, has put Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington and Delmarva Downs in Berlin up for sale.

The disclosure was met with indifference at the headquarters of Ladbrokes, an English bookmaking firm that has been buying pari-mutuel properties in the United States.

Bill Miller, former president of Rosecroft, said, "No comment," when asked yesterday if he would like to reacquire the tracks he sold for about $11 million two years ago.

When Vogel's financial troubles were revealed after he was charged Sept. 13 with cocaine possession, many in the harness racing industry speculated that eventually Vogel would sell the plants or lose them to banks.

Most speculation centered on Ladbrokes and Miller.

"Not interested," said Paul Silvergleid, in charge of acquisitions by Ladbrokes.

"The major market in Maryland is, for all practical purposes, taken up," he said. "Pimlico in Baltimore and Laurel and Rosecroft for Washington have everything else squeezed out. We don't perceive any room for expansion."

Ladbrokes has shown interest in expanding by way of off-track betting or intertrack betting.

"We've very excited about the business we've attracted at the new New Castle [Pa.] OTB facility," Silvergleid said. "We've hit a home run there.

"We expect to open the first dog track in Texas, near Brownsville, in mid-November, and we hope to bring an OTB parlor to Rhode Island [through a voting measure next month].

"We're also busy getting ready to televise [simulcast] Santa Anita's races into Canterbury Downs [near Minneapolis]."

Miller's family built Rosecroft in 1947 and operated it until selling out to Vogel in 1988.

Miller is said to have rejected a purchase of the two tracks after hearing that Vogel is thinking about a sale price of about $20 million.

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