Rosecroft loses bid to simulcast

Court rules against plan to televise thoroughbreds

September 11, 1999|By Jon Morgan

An appeals court has ruled against an effort by Rosecroft Raceway, a harness racing track near Washington, to simulcast thoroughbred racing independent of the state's thoroughbred tracks.

For several years, thoroughbred and harness tracks have telecast and accepted bets on each other's races and those coming from out of state through a complicated agreement in which they shared tracks and revenue. Last year, Rosecroft withdrew from the agreement with the thoroughbred tracks -- owned by the Maryland Jockey Club -- and sought permission from the Maryland Racing Commission to simulcast out-of-town thoroughbred races in competition with the Jockey Club.

The commission rejected the application, saying it would divert money from the thoroughbreds and not be good for the state's racing industry. Rosecroft won an order from a Prince George's County circuit court overturning the commission's decision.

The commission appealed, and yesterday the Maryland Court of Special Appeals sided with the agency. The court ruled that state law does not prohibit "cross-breed" simulcasting, but does give the commission authority to do so if it deems it best for the racing industry.

Meanwhile, the harness and thoroughbred tracks are handling each other's simulcasts through a temporary truce and are close to agreement on a new revenue and facility-sharing plan. Neither Rosecroft's attorney nor its general manager were available for comment yesterday.

Area schedule

Pimlico and Laurel Park: Simulcasts daily except Tuesday. Live racing returns Oct. 13 to Laurel Park. 301-725-0400.

Rosecroft Raceway: Live racing Thursday through Saturday, post time 7: 20 p.m. Simulcasts Tuesday through Sunday. 301-567-4000.

Delaware Park: Live racing Saturday through Wednesday until Oct. 31, post time 12: 45 p.m.

Colonial Downs: Meet runs through Oct. 11. Live racing Friday through Tuesday, post time 3 p.m. 804-966-7223.

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