Rosecroft target of foreclosure proceedings

Northwind takes action, claiming track insolvent

Horse Racing

October 22, 2004|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Northwind Racing has initiated foreclosure proceedings against Rosecroft Raceway, the embattled harness track in Prince George's County, claiming that the track is insolvent and unable to pay its debts.

Northwind filed the foreclosure notice Monday in Prince George's County Circuit Court. In a letter to directors of Cloverleaf Enterprises Inc., which owns the track, Mark J. Ricigliano, the Laurel businessman who heads Northwind, charged that the track's assets had plummeted from $456,931 in February to a negative $2,183,214 in August.

Ricigliano declined to comment on the filing. Officials of Rosecroft Raceway could not be reached for comment.

Tom McDonough, chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, said Ricigliano called him a few days ago and suggested that the commission appoint an outside monitor to oversee operations at Rosecroft. McDonough said Mike Hopkins, executive director of the commission, told Ricigliano to put the suggestion in writing.

"At that point, we'll consider if it's necessary for us to do anything," McDonough said. "It's just an unstable situation, which is unfortunate."

After conducting its signature event Saturday - the Maryland Sire Stakes Showcase of Champions - Rosecroft ceased live racing until Nov. 26. It had been racing two nights per week, so the shutdown would cost 10 days of racing. The track remains open for simulcasting.

Tom Chuckas Jr., president and CEO of Rosecroft, said then that the break was an effort to "get the business back in line."

Rosecroft is one of two harness tracks in the state and the only track in the country owned by its horsemen. They have tried to sell the track, a potential site for slot machines, but two recent deals deteriorated into complicated court battles.

One involves Northwind, which claims Rosecroft owes it $7,497,500.02 - the original mortgage of $7.2 million plus interest and related fees.

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