The anticipation is building as live racing prepares to return to Rosecroft Raceway on Tuesday, September 13, for the track’s 2016 fall meet. Racing applications are now available online, and all horsepeople are reminded they are due by September 1.
Among the many changes for the upcoming meet, which runs through December 15, are new ownership of the facility and racing on Thursdays rather than Sundays.
Excitement is high, as The Stronach Group, which owns and operates several Thoroughbred tracks across the country, is now dipping its toes into the harness racing scene after recently completing the sale of Rosecroft Raceway from Penn National Gaming Inc.
"We're excited about moving forward at Rosecroft,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. “We look forward to expanding our simulcast network, having a presence in the Washington D.C. market and growing the harness racing market herein the mid-Atlantic area."
The first qualifying day will be Saturday, September 10, at 10:00 a.m. Once the meet gets underway, qualifiers will be held on Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. starting September 20. Thanks to a high quality of racing stock expected to be competing at Rosecroft, the qualifying times have been lowered to 2:02 for pacers, and 2:04 for trotters. The first draws will be on Wednesday, September 7 for opening night, and Monday, September 12 for the following Thursday. First-race post time will be at 6:40 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, with the exception of a ‘dark’ day on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24.
Director of racing / racing secretary Pete Hanley noted that purses will average around $83,000 per program with preferences given to Maryland-owned, sired or bred horses, who will also continue to receive a 20 per cent bonus on their earnings as well.
"We are looking forward to another exciting and competitive meet,” explained Hanley. “Our last meet’s leading trainer, Joe Offutt, didn't solidify the crown until late into the season, and the driving championship here at Rosecroft wasn't decided until the final race of the meet, as Russell Foster and Jonathan Roberts ended up in a dead heat with 45 wins apiece. Perennial driving champ Frank Milby was just one win behind that pair with 44 and I’m certainly hopefully that things will come down to the wire once again.”