Colonial Downs, Horsemen Still Talking Dates

Colonial Downs, Horsemen Still Talking Dates
Photo: Coady Photography
Colonial Downs Racing

The Virginia Racing Commission granted an extension to Colonial Downs and the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association to reach an agreement on racing dates this year.

The two sides were talking again over the May 17-18 weekend—an improvement considering they broke off talks May 13—but they failed to reach an agreement to meet the May 19 deadline imposed by the VRC. The VRC wanted an agreement in place for its Monday, May 19 meeting.

While no agreement was reached at Monday's meeting, the VRC did see enough encouraging signs to extend the deadline and schedule a special meeting for 10 a.m., Thursday, May 22 to potentially approve a 2014 schedule.

"There are some sticking points that still need to be resolved," said VRC executive director Bernie Hettel. "So we backed up and punted. We're going to have a special meeting on Thursday morning to see if everything is tucked up nice and neat and the package is complete."

A high hurdle has been that the track wants compensation for revenues from handle it lost when, because an agreement wasn't reached with horsemen, it could no longer take in Thoroughbred simulcast signals and was forced to shut down off-track outlets. The track said it suffered a $1.5 million hit because of the closings.

Virginia HBPA executive director Frank Petramalo Jr. has disputed the amount of losses reported by the track and noted that horsemen also lost money because of the closures.

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