Total racing dates would continue to drop under 2011 requests submitted by Ohio's seven racetracks Aug. 19.
Continued declines in handle and the lowest purse structure in decades have led River Downs to cut the purses of its two premier stakes for 2-year-olds by 50%.
Ohio racetracks are considering a push for a 2011 ballot issue that would ask voters to repeal the casino bill recently signed by Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
Absent an agreement with horsemen, River Downs will begin its live meet April 16 with a minimum purse of $3,200, the lowest in almost two decades, in yet another sign of a struggling Ohio horse racing industry.
River Downs, which anticipates further erosion of pari-mutuel revenue this year, has asked the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association to consider a reduction in 2010 racing dates.
The Ohio State Racing Commission has approved 2010 racing dates for two Thoroughbred tracks, but the facilities still have no agreement with horsemen on the schedules.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association issued a statement July 16 confirming it will have to negotiate with racetracks for purse revenue from video lottery terminals.
It appears Ohio racetracks and horsemen's groups will have to negotiate the percentage of revenue that will go toward purses and breed development from video lottery terminals.
Ohio racing still has its supporters, who are finding ways to capitalize on declining purses and a shrinking foal crop in the face of competition from racetracks with gaming in neighboring states.
Requests by Beulah Park and River Downs to schedule their customary Thoroughbred meets for 2009 were officially granted Dec. 19 by the Ohio State Racing Commission.
Winter racing at Beulah Park was plowed under and the spring/summer meet at River Downs went up in flames Nov. 21 when the Ohio State Racing Commission awarded 2009 dates that represent a loss of more than 160 days of Thoroughbred racing at the two tracks.
A Jockeys' Guild official was verbally barred from River Downs after the Ohio State Racing Commission was notified of an incident in which the track's substitute ambulance caught fire on the racetrack and a pickup truck was used for emergency services for the final two races of a program.
The Ohio State Racing Commission indicated Aug. 21 it will have a difficult time approving requests by two racetracks that call for only four total days of Thoroughbred racing in 2009.
At least two racetrack operators aren't pleased with recent developments concerning advance deposit wagering revenue, and one indicated closure of his track isn't out of the question should the conflict continue.
Declines in on-track wagering, a dispute with the New York Racing Association over signal fees, and horsemen's refusal to allow six major advance deposit wagering outlets to take its signal has led River Downs to cut purses 15%-18% effective May 8.
Ohio racing interests, stung by the failure of a Nov. 7 referendum that would have allowed video lottery terminals at the state's seven tracks, didn't rule out another attempt and said there could be legislative assistance for the industry in the interim.
Racetracks and horsemen's groups are considering a proposal by the chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission to radically reduce live racing dates--several hundred could be eliminated--in order to boost purses and increase field size in 2005.
Due to a snafu by a racing official at River Downs earlier in the meet, River Downs will attempt to remedy the situation by "seeding" an exacta pool with $5,000 in the last race on the last Friday (Aug. 29) of the meet.
It seems as though the horse supply and the betting dollar is about to get stretched even further in the Midwest, where racetracks and casinos are plentiful.
As the Ohio Thoroughbred racing season gets in full swing for 2002, a racetrack operator has renewed his call for changes in the law that governs full-card simulcasting in the state.
The general manager at River Downs in Ohio said more than $7 million in purse revenue generated at the racetrack has gone to other tracks in the state the past 4 1/2 years through a formula that disperses dark-day simulcasting funds.
The Ohio Lottery Commission's need for revenue to fund education has generated serious talk about video lottery terminals at the state's seven commercial racetracks. Legislators have floated the idea, and racing industry officials are attempting to find common ground.
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