Initial figures on Rosecroft and Delmarva intertrack simulcasting have shown the concept to be popular with harness-racing fans.
Simulcasting began Friday. Rosecroft beamed its 12 races to Delmarva Downs on the Eastern Shore while Delmarva sent its 12 races back to Rosecroft. Thus patrons at the tracks, both owned by Mark Vogel, could wager on 24 races nightly. Races went off about every 10 minutes.
During the first three nights of simulcasting, fans at Rosecroft wagered $164,124 on Delmarva races, about what track officials had expected. In comparison, Rosecroft fans wagered $1,672,130 on the track's live races. Delmarva fans, attracted by Rosecroft's quality of racing, bet $173,161 on Rosecroft races during the weekend.
"That surprised us," said Vogel, who observed the simulcasting from Delmarva on Friday and Saturday. "It's about 50-50. We love that."
Vogel sees two initial benefits from intertrack simulcasting. Purses at Delmarva are bound to increase because of the added handle generated at Rosecroft. The average handle at Delmarva for its first three nights of racing has been up 27 percent because of simulcasting.
Vogel also believes harness-racing fans from the Baltimore area, who have been somewhat cut off from the sport because of the closing of Freestate, can again be exposed to harness racing while vacationing in Ocean City.
While Rosecroft fans welcomed the opportunity for more action, several complained of long betting lines. Shutouts were common since there were only eight mutuel clerks handling Delmarva wagering at Rosecroft.
Track officials, limited by data processing capabilities, say they are working to add windows at Rosecroft.