Rosecroft Raceway has purchased a controlling interest in Ocean Downs, Rosecroft President William E. Miller II said yesterday.
Miller said a contract was signed yesterday giving Rosecroft 68 percent of Oceans Downs' outstanding stock, which represents the stock owned by Ocean Downs President John Howard Burbage. Miller would not disclose the purchase price of the stock.
The settlement is expected within one week.
Miller said Rosecroft bought into Ocean Downs because, "The track is a good fit [with Rosecroft's schedule]. They race when we're down."
Ocean Downs, located in Berlin, Md., near Ocean City, races from mid-May to early September. Rosecroft conducts its meetings from October through mid-May.
Another reason for the purchase, according to Miller, is that "Maryland is the hottest harness circuit in the country" and "Ocean Downs is in a unique situation" to capitalize on the upswing in racing by being located in a resort that attracts fans familiar with harness racing because of Rosecroft and Freestate raceways.
In recently released finanical statements, Rosecroft posted record earnings of $517,283 for its fiscal year ending June 30, 1985. Ocean Downs reported earnings of $239,386 for 1985. Ocean Downs had its most successful year in 1985, averaging $140,724 in handle.
Miller denied that Ocean Downs was being purchased for its real estate value, saying that it will continue to operate as a race track.
Until recently there were doubts that Ocean Downs would race this summer because the Maryland Racing Commission demanded Burbage make numerous improvements. Miller confirmed that many of those improvements already have been made and that more will be.
Ocean Downs will open its summer meeting on May 23.