Deal keeps betting network intact until Nov. 15 Concession raises take to 70 percent for Rosecroft

September 27, 1997|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

A partial agreement reached yesterday will keep intact Maryland's horse-betting network until at least Nov. 15.

Rosecroft Raceway received the concession it sought from Maryland Jockey Club president Joe De Francis, raising the take for the harness track and its horsemen and breeders to 70 percent from money wagered on thoroughbred racing at night. That applies until the new deadline for a permanent deal.

Under the contract which expired this week, Standardbred interests received only 65 percent of that money.

"We accepted his 70-30 split," said Gerald Brittingham, president of Cloverleaf, Inc., the harness horsemen's arm. "And, we basically gave Joe more time to get reorganized on the other issues.

"We wanted to make this work to avoid an unnecessary shutdown. The financial end of it is settled, but there are other wrinkles to iron out."

The sides met at the office of Eugene A. Conti, secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Registration. Conti also heads a state study commission seeking ways to help horse racing in the state.

"At least we got the ball back on the field," Conti said. "They agreed to get things started back up and to continue to talk. The important thing is that racing fans won't be totally inconvenienced."

Had the impasse continued, Laurel Park and Pimlico thoroughbred tracks would have been closed at night and Rosecroft would have closed during day hours.

De Francis said that basically the sides are working under an extension of the old agreement.

"Everybody is satisfied with the way things stand between now and Nov. 15," he said. "The secretary's involvement was very helpful. Hopefully, we'll be able to resolve everything else."

Pub Date: 9/27/97

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