By Gina Maybee (first appeared in the May 2018 Equiery)
As we celebrated Women’s History month in March, one does not hear much about women holding positions of authority in the historically male dominant sport of horse racing. However, at Rosecroft that is what is happening.
In August of 2016, Rosecroft Raceway was purchased by The Stronach Group, whose chairman and president is the successful businesswoman Belinda Stronach. Many in the Thoroughbred world are aware of her accomplishments, but the harness industry may not be since this is their first venture into harness racing. Belinda has held many powerful positions in another male dominated automotive industry. In 2010, Belinda shifted her focus from the automotive industry and became a leader in world-class horse racing, entertainment and pari-mutuel wagering technology. Her vision leads the way for the horse racing industry with the younger generation and women.
Working on the day-to-day success at Rosecroft, the Director of Operations Lisa Watts, is a force to be reckoned with. Lisa started her career as a teller in 1987 at Rosecroft. As a teller, she has worked at every track in Maryland both Thoroughbred and Standardbred. After 30 years working in the horse racing business, she has worked as a horsemen’s bookkeeper to mutuels manager. Her experience and expertise of making a racetrack run streamlined and efficiently is part of the success of Rosecroft. Lisa has turned the historic racetrack in southern Prince George’s County into a premier entertainment facility for outdoor events, whether they be music festivals to hosting various rugby tournaments, like the Cherry Blossom Rugby Tournament. Lisa has also been instrumental in making Rosecroft the home of the Washington, DC, Silver and Golden Glove Championships.
Lisa leads the mutuels department with the help of two female managers that have been a part of the Rosecroft team for 20+ years themselves. Carol Clark, who started her racetrack career at Freestate, oversees day-to-day Food and Beverage operations, while Joan Lloyd oversees housekeeping operations along with their mutuel department duties.
As Director of Finance, Lisa White started her career at Freehold in the 80s. Over the years, Lisa has been able to streamline the accounting department and manage the complexity of racetrack finances. In the finance department, Lisa oversees Patrice White, who was introduced to harness racing when she was hired as horsemen’s bookkeeper, and now she handles all the accounts receivable and payroll for Rosecroft. Recently Rosecroft has added another female to its ranks when it hired Tepring Jones as horsemen’s bookkeeper.
The horsemen at Rosecroft are familiar with two more females who make sure everything runs smoothly on the racing operations end. Gale Lammers serves as both Assistant Race Secretary and Identifier. Freda Ivory serves as Paddock Judge. Freda’s sense of pride in her duties helps her keep the paddock and post parades organized.
In Maryland, it is not just Rosecroft that is guided by women. In 1997, Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association named Sharon Roberts as their Executive Vice President. In 2018, Gina Maybee took over as Acting Executive Vice President after working with Sharon for 10 years. During that time, Gina has been instrumental in introducing and promoting harness racing across the state. Most recently horsemen Kerry Welty has joined the Board of Directors at CSOA as well.