Mark Vogel, the area developer who is in the process of purchasing Rosecroft Raceway, said yesterday he already has been tendered about half the harness track's stock and expects to close the $11 million deal before the end of the year.

Among the first things he intends to do is "probably rip down the grandstand" and replace it with a state-of-the-art, winterized facility. He said he intends to keep the current management.

"It looks good," Vogel said. "I'm excited about it."

Vogel's friends have said his ultimate goal is to own a sports franchise. Vogel said Rosecroft is not in that category. "I've still got my hopes for that one day," he said.

Unlike Frank De Francis, owner of Maryland's other major harness track and its major thoroughbred tracks, Vogel says he has little background in racing. "I go to Rosecroft for dinner," he said. "I'm not a bettor, no. I'll take my wife two or three times a season."

What intrigues him about the Oxon Hill track is its potential for higher profits than the current 10 percent, based on $6 million worth of stock and more than $5 million in debts that he will assume. Vogel said his development business is going so well, he plans to buy Rosecroft in an all-cash deal.

Vogel said he is purchasing Rosecroft "basically because I'm {a major developer} in Prince George's County and I see a Prince George's renaissance applying to Rosecroft . . . Besides, it's profitable."

Vogel reportedly has $1 billion in projects in seven Maryland and Virginia counties. He is the developer of the $400 million Bowie New Town Center and is a limited partner in the PortAmerica project near Rosecroft.

Seven of the nine members of Rosecroft's board of directors already have tendered their shares to Vogel at $2,000 per share, including chairman of the board Earle Palmer Brown and president-general manager William E. Miller II. Contrary to a report in yesterday's editions of the Post, Peter O'Malley has not made up his mind if he is going to tender his stock.

There are 2,948 shares outstanding. In his offer, Vogel said he desired to purchase at least 80 percent of the outstanding shares. The offer expires Dec. 15. However, the way he is talking about the track, it appears unlikely he will back away if the 80 percent is not tendered.

One problem, Vogel said, is that Rosecroft has a number of stockholders with three shares or less. According to Maryland racing records, at least 125 of approximately 200 stockholders own fewer than 10 shares.

The deal also includes Delmarva Downs, formerly Ocean Downs, in Berlin, Md., which Rosecroft purchased last year for $2 million.

Vogel said he has been picking people's brains about the racing business and hopes to meet with De Francis. But he says he does not plan to become involved in the day-to-day operation of the track as has Miller, whose grandfather founded Rosecroft in 1949.

"People feel it's a first-class facility," Vogel said, "{Current} management's been there a long time. They know how to run it and I feel good staying in the background."

Since Rosecroft operates during the coldest months of the year, Vogel said improving the grandstand is his No. 1 priority. He said he planned to get bids on improvements and "probably would rip down the grandstand." He said he envisions a "winterized, comfortable {facility} with a big, large sports bar -- some of the things Mr. De Francis has done." Special correspondent Jack Nowakowski contributed to this report.