The Ohio State Racing Commission unanimously granted the request of Thistledown to withdraw its live signal from Northfield Park, which is a harness track located six miles from the Magna Entertainment-owned Thistledown.
"We're pleased with the commission's decision," said Bill Murphy, vice president and general manager of Thistledown. "We took action as a result of a written request from our horsemen. They rightfully pointed out that a fair contribution to their purses is not being made by money wagered at Northfield Park on Thistledown's races. Thistledown and Magna Entertainment Corp. consider the horsemen our partners and, as partners, we realize that the most important way to protect and preserve live racing is through a strong purse structure."
Dan Theno, executive director of the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, said Ohio law does not prevent a state Thoroughbred track from banning its signal from being exported to an in-state harness track.
"We had requested Thistledown to discontinue sending its signal to Northfield since purses receive no contribution from wagers made at Northfield on our races," said Bob Reeves, chairman of the Ohio HBPA Purses and Wagering Committee. "Under Ohio law, payment for simulcasts of live racing programs from one in-state track to another in-state track is limited to a reduced host fee of only 1 3/8%, which is totally retained by the track with nothing for purses."