10/17/2002 11:00PM

Rosecroft picks Centaur bid

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The owners of Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland voted Friday to sell the troubled harness racetrack to Centaur Inc., a minority partner in Hoosier Park in Indiana, Rosecroft announced on Friday.

Centaur beat out two other groups, Magna Entertainment and Greenwood Racing, for Rosecroft, which is owned by a group of Standardbred owners, breeders, and trainers. Rosecroft officials said that Cloverleaf's package was worth $55.4 million.

Centaur, which also owns a casino in Colorado and a card club in California, has promised to pay $10 million up front and devote the remaining $45.4 million to purse supplements over the next 10 years.

It is unclear how much Magna and Greenwood had bid for the track or how Rosecroft's board valued the companies' bids. Tony Ricci, the chief financial officer of Greenwood, said the value of the bids was difficult to estimate because of the complexity of the deals.

"We gave it our best shot, they made their choice, and we wish them the best of luck," Ricci said. "As far as the value of the bids, I'll let Rosecroft get into those details."

In earlier statements, Magna's bid, which, like Centaur's offer, was structured as a one-time cash payment and a series of annual purse subsidies, was said to be in excess of $68 million. Greenwood's bid was also said to be higher than Centaur's offer.

Tom Chuckas Jr., Rosecroft's chief operating officer, said in a statement that the vote to accept Centaur's bid was a "compromise."

"Centaur stepped up and provided the horsemen with the concessions that they wanted to get the deal done," Chuckas said. "It is as simple as that."