04/18/2004 11:00PM

Maryland signal dispute

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Maryland bettors were unable to wager on Thoroughbred simulcasts at Rosecroft Raceway on Monday because of an ongoing dispute between the state's harness and Thoroughbred industries.

The dispute, which also closed Pimlico Racecourse and Laurel Park at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, centers on an agreement between the Maryland Jockey Club, owner of Pimlico and Laurel, and Rosecroft that expired March 31. The agreement allowed the MJC's two tracks and Rosecroft to offer both Thoroughbred and harness signals day and night, with proceeds split 80 percent to the Thoroughbred industry and 20 percent to the Standardbred industry.

When negotiations on a new agreement broke down, the MJC and Maryland's Thoroughbred horsemen's groups on Friday rescinded their approval for Thoroughbred simulcasting at Rosecroft, effective Monday.

Under laws protecting nighttime harness racing, Maryland's Thoroughbred tracks cannot remain open at night. The previous agreement had waived that stipulation so that both could offer cross-breed simulcasting.