Rosecroft Raceway started its 60-night fall meet last night with both attendance and handle up substantially over the 1983 opening night.

A crowd of 4,814 bet $524,921 last night, compared to 3,414 who bet $341,330 on a rainy night last year.

Rosecroft General Manager Thomas Aldrich said the track expects to pay out $5,000 to $6,000 more in purses during the fall meet as compared to the spring meet, due mostly to tax legislation that took effect July 1. That figures to a nearly $400,000 increase for the meet.

Should betting continue at last night's rate, even higher purse increases could be in store, he added.

Driver John Hogan got his share of the higher purses, scoring two victories and a second in three drives. Hogan, a newcomer to Maryland, should contend for leading driver honors this meet.

The fastest time of the night, 2:01 1/5, was turned in by Meta Escape, with James Porter driving. Meta Escape won the eighth race.

Rosecroft drivers felt that Rosecroft's newly resurfaced track is an improvement over last year's meet, which produced world record times. Although termed somewhat "soft" by some, the surface should improve in the next few race nights.