The Maryland harness-racing season opens tonight as Rosecroft Raceway starts its 34th year.

Tonight's card also marks the start of the first split meet involving Rosecroft and Freestate. Rosecroft's first session will end April 17. Freestate will open April 19 and close May 22. Rosecroft's second session will run from May 24 to July 15, and Freestate will resume the next night and close Sept. 25.

The first-night card at Rosecroft, which is near Oxon Hill, will feature three divisions of the Representative Pace. The event will be contested on the first five Thursdays of the meet, with a $7,500 final on Saturday, April 3.

The Lady Legislator for fillies and mares will be paced on the first three Fridays of the session, ending with a Saturday, March 20, final for $7,500.

Rosecroft's best horses are expected to compete in the Senatorial Pace, which will be raced every other Saturday. The Senatorial final, April 10, will be worth $15,000.

Many of the track's top horsemen last season have returned, including Walter Callahan, John Wagner, Jim Schlotzhauer and Pres Moore Jr. Wayne Smullin, last year's leading driver, is currently racing in New York. A newcomer to Rosecroft will be Jack Bailey, the all-time driving champion at Vernon Downs (N.Y.).

Post time each night for the nine-race programs will be 8. Triple wagering will be featured on the first and last races, with exacta betting for the second through eighth.