Thursday nights at Rosecroft used to attract only the hard core who were willing to endure a racing card filled with horses seemingly incapable of winning. Things have improved this summer.

Filly and mare open events are now a regular feature, and on the next three Thursdays some of the best 2-year-old colts in Maryland will be competing in the Baltimorean Series.

In the past two weeks Billy Perkins, Rosecroft's racing secretary, has been able to attract top mares such as L Dees Trish, The Authority, G E's Karla and Hare Power from the Meadowlands and Yonkers.

"Generally horsemen would rather race fillies and mares against fillies and mares," Perkins said. "When you offer an open event for mares, people talk about it."

Gary Ewing, a local horseman, can now avoid a long van ride to Yonkers in New York with G E's Karla, winner of $232,387 lifetime, and instead race at Rosecroft for good money.

The Baltimorean series will give handicappers some tough choices. In the first leg of the 2-year-old early closer, Champagne Brady, a winner in 2:00 two weeks ago, will meet Stormin Jesse, who has been training well in New Jersey. The other division of the Baltimorean features Beep Honk Toot, winner of two baby races at Rosecroft.