Playfair Race Course, which was to have opened in September for its first live meet since 2000, will not operate for simulcasting or hold its live meet, said Robert Leichner, executive secretary of the Washington Horse Racing Commission.
Leichner said Eric Nelson, who said he wanted to revive racing at the track near Spokane, called him May 27 and said he would not reopen for simulcasting and would not run the live meet. "He indicated this is due to the relationship between him, (horsemen), and the landlord, Mr. Jack Pring," Leichner said.
The call came nearly after Nelson closed simulcasting for what he termed a "cooling-off period" of two weeks, which was to end May 28.
On May 16 Nelson said he would "keep the facility closed until we get a new contract" with horsemen and Pring, with whom he has a 10-year lease agreement for the facility. Nelson met on May 12 with the Inland Northwest Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association/Organization for Preservation of Horse Racing in the Northwest to renegotiate their existing contract, but the group insisted Nelson honor the original deal.
Of the failed attempt to get Playfair open, Jan Bosquette, president of the horsemen's group, said: "I'm disappointed, but not surprised. I am glad it's now rather than further on down the road. It would be bad if we had people paying for licenses and then find out they don't have a racetrack. If he had any doubts, he should not have signed those contracts."
In Washington, no simulcasting may take place without a live race meet at the same facility. Leichner said Nelson is considering surrendering his racetrack license.