After more than a year of delays, plans to outfit Ohio racetracks with thousands of video lottery terminals are on the fast track.
Penn National Gaming Inc. said July 1 it has closed on two key deals: the purchase of Beulah Park in Ohio, and its investment in a joint venture with MI Developments in the Maryland Jockey Club.
A gaming and racing company with interests in Ohio said it believes a 2009 governor's directive for racetracks to install video lottery terminals can move ahead.
LetOhioVote.org said June 28 it has asked the state to remove its referendum on racetrack video lottery terminals from the November ballot, possibly clearing the way for gaming at Ohio's seven racetracks.
The Buckeye State welcomed two new racetrack operators June 23 as the Ohio State Racing Commission approved the sale of both Beulah Park and Thistledown, which are to be purchased by casino companies.
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.
Norm Barron, a prominent horseman and regulator in Ohio, died June 5 at 74 after an illness.
Harrah's Entertainment has ended up with Thistledown after all, but at a greatly reduced price.
MI Developments intends to offer Thistledown, the Ohio racetrack near Cleveland, for sale during a May 25 auction in New York.
The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled April 30 it's not illegal for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to try to determine the parties behind an organization that challenged a 2009 directive on racetrack gaming.
The Ohio State Racing Commission met with four representatives from Penn National Gaming Inc. April 20 to question them on the proposed purchase of Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio.
The Ohio State Racing Commission is filing an appeal in a case in which it was left holding the bag for legal fees that now total more than $200,000.
River Downs, which is hoping to trim racing dates to maintain purses at 2009 levels, released its first condition book March 29 and avoided being fined by the Ohio State Racing Commission.
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has ruled LetOhioVote.org submitted petitions containing more than 300,000 valid signatures, which is enough to place the issue of racetrack video lottery terminals on the ballot.
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.
Penn National Gaming Inc. said March 8 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio.
Beulah Park in central Ohio is poised to be, or has been, sold to Penn National Gaming Inc., according to Ohio racing industry representatives.
The Ohio Derby, with a smaller purse and lower grade, will be run July 31, Thistledown officials said.
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.
A November 2010 ballot question on racetrack video lottery terminals in Ohio moved a step closer to becoming reality Feb. 8.
A trainer who allegedly left several Thoroughbred horses either dead or neglected at a Southern Ohio farm has been suspended by Kentucky stewards for "conduct detrimental to racing."
Animal control officials and police are currently looking for a Thoroughbred trainer they suspect has left several horses either dead or neglected in Clermont County near Cincinnati, Ohio.
An MTR Gaming Group official said Nov. 4 passage of a casino referendum in Ohio will create new competition but also offer opportunity for racetracks in the Buckeye State.
Ohio voters Nov. 3 approved casinos on the fifth try by gambling supporters in the past two decades, and Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear immediately issued a statement saying Kentucky must respond.
The connections of seven Breeders' Cup starters have pledged a percentage or portion of their earnings to support New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, which has five facilities in four states.
Penn National Gaming Inc. officials Oct. 21 advocated their proposal for casino gambling in Ohio's four largest cities -- an issue that will be decided via referendum Nov. 3.
Pro-racetrack gaming forces in Ohio have taken a strong stand in opposition to a November referendum on full casino gambling in the state's four largest cities.
Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland Sept. 30 put his plan for racetrack video lottery terminals on hold indefinitely in light of a recent state Supreme Court ruling and a need to balance the state budget.
Thirty-two nominations are pretty good for a race that, up until six weeks ago, wasn't even on the schedule. Thistledown officials Sept. 23 said that's the number of nominees for the grade II Ohio Derby Oct. 3. The purse is $150,000, down from $300,000 last year.
Judy Klosterman's blue hen mare Haveaheavenlytime, whose success as a broodmare runs three generations deep, was euthanized Sept. 19 because of complications from the infirmities of old age
Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland indicated Sept. 21 his administration is preparing to take the "next steps" in the wake of an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that says a statewide referendum is required before the state implements racetrack video lottery terminals.
The Ohio Supreme Court Sept. 21 gave opponents of installing video lottery terminals at racetracks the chance to ask voters to repeal the plan.
A Delaware bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Magna Entertainment Corp.-owned Thistledown in Ohio to Harrah's Entertainment for $89.5 million and Remington Park in Oklahoma City for $80.25 million to a Chickasaw Nation subsidiary. An agreement also has been reached to sell Lone Star Park for $27 million.
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.
United States Sen. George Voinovich used biblical verse Sept. 3 to blast gambling proponents, including Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who is an ordained minister. Voinovich spoke while announcing a new lawsuit challenging implementation of racetrack video lottery terminals in the state.
Jockeys throughout the United States and Canada will exhibit their unified show of support Sept. 5 for apprentice jockey Michael Straight, who was injured in a racing accident Aug. 26 at Arlington Park. On Sept. 6, River Downs in Ohio will raise money for disabled jockey Gary Birzer and jockey Justin Vitek, who continues to battle leukemia.
A document submitted Sept. 1 suggests Penn National Gaming Inc. is underwriting an effort to overturn racetrack video lottery terminals legalized by Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and the Ohio legislature in July, but the Pennsylvania-based company said the information is false.
Team Valor Stables' Ohio-bred King of the Roxy, voted Ohio Horse of the Year in 2007, made his first start in his home state a winning one Aug. 28 when he captured the $50,000 Honey Jay Stakes at Thistledown.
The Ohio State Racing Commission voted Aug. 20 to officially oppose a November referendum to authorize full casino gambling in the state's four largest cities.
The Ohio State Racing Commission Aug. 20 brought the grade II Ohio Derby back to the schedule this year by ordering a reduction of five live racing days at Thistledown, traditional host for the only graded stakes in the Buckeye State.
Five of seven Ohio racetracks failed to have their 2010 applications for dates approved because they don't have an agreement with horsemen or have other conflicts; several requested fewer racing dates than were scheduled for this year; and one facility indicated it wouldn't mind closing its barn area.
Grade II stakes-placed Bold Truth, sire of Ohio stakes winner Bold Captain from his first crop, will stand in 2010 at Steve and Theresa Belford's farm near Gilead, Ohio.
- By Tom LaMarra
MI Developments, parent company of Magna Entertainment Corp., said Aug. 12 debtors filed a motion seeking court approval to sell MEC-owned Remington Park Racing & Casino in Oklahoma to a third party for $80.25 million pending "higher and better offers."
MTR Gaming Group, which cut jobs and corporate expenses in the past year, released improved financial results for the second quarter of 2009 and said it's poised for growth in Ohio, where racetrack video lottery terminals have been authorized.
James Day knows a good racehorse when he breeds and sells one. He also knows a claiming-box bargain when he sees it -- especially one as unexpected as the 5-year-old gelding that presented itself at Thistledown Aug. 7.
Speculation abounds in Ohio, where casino companies are examining racetracks for possible purchase and a deal on revenue from video lottery terminals for purses hasn't been hammered out.
After Michigan horsemen experienced a scare of losing half of their summer/fall meet at Pinnacle Race Course, negotiations were held among the Michigan Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and the Office of the Racing Commissioner to shave less than 10 days from the schedule.
The governor of West Virginia, on hand for the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, said gaming at tracks was built around racing, and the sport won't be allowed to suffer in exchange for company profits.
- By Tom LaMarra
Penn National Gaming Inc. officials see upside to an expansion of gambling in Ohio, but said they have no idea how it will shake out.
Habayeb, by Storm Cat, was represented by his first winner and first stakes winner in the same race.
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