OH Thoroughbred Tracks Seek 293 Dates in 2015

OH Thoroughbred Tracks Seek 293 Dates in 2015
Photo: Tom LaMarra
Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course

Ohio's three Thoroughbred racetracks have applied for a combined 293 racing days for 2015.

Belterra Park near Cincinnati requested 93 programs plus two Quarter Horse days; it will race 100 programs this year. Belterra Park would open April 24 and run through Oct. 11 in 2015.

Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, which will hold its inaugural meet from late November through December this year, applied for 100 days next year. It would race split meets: Jan. 3-April 5 and Oct. 24-Dec. 30.

Thistledown Racino also requested 100 days from May 1-Oct. 18. That's down from 122 this year, but it would avoid any overlap with Mahoning Valley, which is located about one hour away.

The schedules must be approved by the Ohio State Racing Commission and the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

The Ohio HBPA has longterm agreements on revenue from video lottery terminals with Mahoning Valley and ThistleDown. Belterra Park and the Ohio HBPA have until early November to hammer out an agreement; the VLT purse cut at the other two tracks averages about 10.5%.

Belterra Park general manager Kevin Kaufman and Ohio HBPA executive director Dave Basler told the OSRC Aug. 27 that negotiations have been amicable and should be completed by the deadline. Basler said talks were delayed by a recent development in which Belterra Park purses have to be cut 20% effective Aug. 30 because VLT revenue hasn't met projections.

Mahoning Valley remains under construction. The VLT casino will open first, followed by live racing.

In other business, the OSRC approved a financial distribution to the Ohio Thoroughbred Racing Fund for the period of September through December of this year. Another $200,000 will be available for purse supplements for overnight Ohio-bred races, and another $30,000 is available for Ohio-breds that win in open company.

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