Virginia Plans to Stick With New Schedule

What wasn't said at the Virginia Racing Commission meeting Wednesday may have more significance than what was said.

There was little discussion about the planned June-July meet at Colonial Downs even though it remains possible there could be racing in Maryland as usual during that period. Colonial Downs gets about 75% of its horses from neighboring Maryland.

There has been speculation about a change in the Virginia schedule in response to the objections of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. But the issue wasn't discussed during the meeting that lasted more than an hour.

The Maryland Racing Commission, which already indicated it would rather not award dates based on Virginia's schedule, is set to meet again April 25. The situation in Maryland has changed in light of the fact the state's tracks will not get a $10-million subsidy for purses effective July 1. The Maryland Jockey Club and horsemen have met to figure out a way to deal with an expected reduction in purse money.

Virginia commissioners on Wednesday did discuss other issues such as number of racing days and account wagering, and they formed a task force. "I think the time has come in Virginia where we need to look at the glass as being half-full instead of half-empty," commissioner Alan Kirshner said. "We see what happens in states where people don't work together."

Commissioners said formation of its task force is not in response to any action taken by the Virginia Racing Task Force, which also has members from Maryland. That task force heralded the switch from fall to spring and summer racing in Virginia.

In other business, the commission voted to join the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association, commonly known as NAPRA. It recently dropped its membership in the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

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