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Rosecroft Ready For Prime Time

Published: September 29, 2017 4:58 pm ET

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When harness racing returns to historic Rosecroft next week, there will be a few noticeable changes.

The biggest? Rosecroft is going prime time.

After running on Tuesday and Thursday evenings the past several meets, Rosecroft will race live every Saturday and Sunday beginning Saturday, Oct. 1 through Dec. 23, and Fridays on Nov. 3 and Nov. 24. First race post is 6:40 p.m.

“In the past the thought was to run when no one else was running to garner simulcast handle on Tuesday and Thursday,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “But in my opinion, in order to build the business you have to run when people are able to go to the racetrack. I believe that’s either Friday night, Saturday or Sunday.

“Since Friday is a horrible traffic day in this area, we felt the best bet was Saturday and Sunday. We will race Fridays on Breeders’ Cup weekend and Black Friday. We’ve started to clean up the facility and we want to be open to let people see the new Rosecroft and enjoy the amenities.

“As far as generating handle and business, I told the horsemen I think it’s a good thing to run when the Meadowlands is running because at least we know there’s harness players out there. It’s not someone watching on a whim.”

Rosecroft, which opened in 1949, was purchased in August of 2016 by The Stronach Group, the parent company of the Maryland Jockey Club. Sinatra said the Maryland Jockey Club has spent the past year “observing handle, crowds, service, security and racing.”

“We did a little facelift of the facility but we’ve continued doing some more over the summer,” he added. “We’ve put some new flooring down, added flat-screen televisions, and we’ve looked to fix the concession stands and the dining service and buffet.”

Sinatra said the $100,000 Potomac will return for a second consecutive year on Sunday, Nov. 5. The inaugural Potomac, which resulted in the best group of pacers to race at Rosecroft in some 30 years in the first $100,000 race at the track in nearly 10 years, was won by All Bets Off. There will also be Maryland Sire Stakes on Oct. 7-8, 14-15 and 22 and Nov. 11-12, 18-19 and 26.

Sinatra said he’s been pleased with the cooperation the Maryland Jockey Club has received from horsemen the past year. In a move to enhance integrity, the Maryland Jockey Club will implement new security measures for horses shipping for the nightly races.

“We have a security plan similar to the Thoroughbreds,” Sinatra said. “If you’re racing, and you’re not going to the paddock for the first six races, you will be assigned stalls. In the past horsemen would go into any of the four barns. Now there will be a stall, cameras and a guard. We just want to make sure the playing field is fair for everybody.”

(with files from Rosecroft)


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