12 submit bids to buy Rosecroft Raceway

Orioles owner's son leads one group

November 22, 2003|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

A dozen companies and individuals, including a group led by the son of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos, have submitted bids to buy Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County.

The harness track, which is just off the Capital Beltway close to Washington and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs, is regarded by gambling experts as potentially the most lucrative site in Maryland for slot machines.

Thomas Chuckas Jr., chief executive of Cloverleaf Enterprises Inc., which owns the track, said Rosecroft had received 12 bids by a 5 p.m. deadline yesterday.

"I am pleased with the response," he said.

Chuckas declined to identify bidders beyond saying that in-state and out-of-state companies and individuals had made formal offers to buy the track.

"I have not really had a chance to look at them in detail at this juncture," he said.

Louis Angelos, a lawyer who practices in the law firm of his father, Peter Angelos, confirmed that he is leading one of the groups that wants to buy Rosecroft.

"We're setting up an entity to acquire the assets of Rosecroft," Louis Angelos said. "That's how the bid was submitted."

Michael Haley, the chief financial officer for the Angelos family's business interests, except for the Orioles, said the investor group might include some of Peter Angelos' friends and contacts but that the Orioles owner is not personally nor financially involved.

Major League Baseball rules generally prohibit team owners from being involved in gambling ventures.

Haley and Louis Angelos declined to identify other people whom they expect to become investors.

"All the people we will include in the group will be from Maryland, of which a substantial number will be minority participation," Louis Angelos said.

Several other companies are known to have expressed interest in buying Rosecroft, including a Las Vegas-based casino company, a Biloxi, Miss.-based casino company, a company that owns horse racing tracks in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, the founder of Black Entertainment Television and a Buffalo, N.Y.-based conglomerate.

However, it was not clear late yesterday how many of those companies submitted bids.

Rosecroft is back on the market because a prospective buyer, Indiana-based Centaur Inc., did not meet a Nov. 1 deadline to buy the track.

Centaur officials contend that the deadline hasn't elapsed. They say they still hold exclusive rights to buy Rosecroft and vow to wage a vigorous court battle to protect their interests.

Cloverleaf Enterprises Inc. is a group owned by harness-horse owners, trainers and drivers.

Chuckas has said that Cloverleaf plans to make a decision on a buyer by mid-December.

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