Maryland Racing Commission approves 2021 racing dates

Towson, MD — The Maryland Racing Commission Thursday (Oct. 22) approved 2021 racing dates for several tracks, including two harness facilities that intend to run their customary schedules.

Rosecroft Raceway applied for 60 live racing programs from January through May and September through December. The winter meet runs from Jan. 17-March 31 with racing on Wednesday and Sunday evenings with the exception of Sunday (Feb. 7).

Schedules for the spring and fall meets will be released in the future.

The dates submittal to the MRC states the track intends to be open to patrons for the winter meet. Rosecroft has COVID-19 protocols in place but is currently waiting for approval to open to patrons from Prince George’s County; Gov. Larry Hogan’s revised executive order allows up to 250 patrons at racetracks.

The current fall meet at Rosecroft is scheduled to conclude Dec. 23. Racing is held Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:15 p.m., with the Potomac Pace set for Sunday (Nov. 15).

Casino at Ocean Downs will release its schedule at a later date, though general manager Bobbi Sample told the MRC the meet will resemble those of previous years. The 2020 meet began later than planned in July because of the COVID-19 shutdown.

“We’re working on a detailed number of days and the timing of race days,” Sample said. “We need to get feedback from the (Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association). There are several versions of a calendar (for next year).”

Dan Myer, president of the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association, said it was a difficult season at Ocean Downs given reductions in the purses for the Maryland Sire Stakes and Maryland Standardbred Race Fund stakes. He said, however, that Ocean Downs officials “went above and beyond” to schedule Maryland-exclusive overnight events and implemented other programs that made the delayed meet “very successful.”

In another matter, Sample informed the MRC that Worcester County Board of County Commissioners has approved a zoning change that adds a Casino Entertainment District to its county code. The casino had previously existed as an accessory to the racetrack, which was built and opened in an agricultural zone in 1949. The change in designation will allow for entertainment-related development on the property, such as hotels.

“I can assure everyone this does not deter our commitment to continue live racing,” Sample said. “It’s part of the history of Worcester County. Nothing has changed in that regard.”

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