Track purchase in jeopardy

Aug 19, 2003 8:22 AM

Time is running out for Centaur Inc. and its plans to acquire Rosecroft Raceway, a harness track located in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The agreement between Centaur and the horsemen’s association that owns the track requires that the company complete the deal by Nov. 1 or risk losing its $2.5 million deposit and the right to acquire the property.

Purchase price for the track is $55.4 million consisting of $10 million for the track and $45.4 million in purses to be paid over 10 years. The track is owned by the Cloverleaf Horsemen’s Association whose members race at the track.

Delaying the process has been Centaur’s efforts to dump its partner ”” Delaware North Cos. of Buffalo, N.Y. ”” for fear that it would not be eligible for a Maryland license. In a recent lawsuit, that Centaur lost, the company said the fact that a former parent of Delaware North had ties to organized crime would prevent it from being licensed. The judge ruled that the allegation was not enough to sever its partnership arrangement.

In the partnership arrangement, Delaware North was to provide the financing for the acquisition and would own 75% or the operation with Centaur retaining 25%.

A spokesman for Centaur was quoted as saying that the company felt it would have its problems resolved in time to complete the sale by Nov. 1.

Rosecroft Raceway’s value would grow substantially if the Maryland legislature were to approve the installation of video lottery machines in the state’s racetracks.