Gov. William Donald Schaefer met with various groups at Rosecroft Raceway last night to show his support and concern for Maryland's troubled harness racing industry.

Schaefer came at the invitation of Del. Ethel Murray. "She was very concerned with racing in Maryland. I suggested she get a group together," he said.

Joining Schaefer was William Foyle, secretary of the Department of Licensing and Regulation, as well as Maryland Racing Commissioner Allan Levey. The group took a tour of the track and listened to horsemen's groups and breeders.

"I don't think the people of Maryland realize how important racing is to the state," Schaefer said.

"We're not going to lose Rosecroft."

The governor said he feels Rosecroft's ownership uncertainty is a major problem facing the industry. Mark Vogel, who owns Maryland's only two harness tracks, Rosecroft and Delmarva Downs, placed the tracks under bankruptcy last week.

Schaefer also said he is concerned by the lack of a unified voice coming from the racing community. "That's a real weakness," he said. "They have different interests. They are not as well organized as they should be.

"We need a good owner to buy {Rosecroft}, someone like Frank De Francis. That's what they need here -- a great promoter."

Jim Murphy, who was named trustee of Rosecroft and Delmarva after Vogel placed the tracks under protection, said he was pleased to see Schaefer.

"His appearance shows his concern for the industry." said Murphy. "He wants to see what he can do to help the industry. He's become involved."