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.
A reduction in stakes purses for its upcoming meet will allow Turfway Park to maintain overnight purses and racing days, but track officials are thinking ahead to 2010, when that probably won't be the case.
Ellis Park got the official OK to add five days of racing to its current meet, and Keeneland will be permitted to change the way it divvies up purses in each race.
Racetracks in Illinois submitted their 2010 racing dates request July 31 with the state's racing board. Between Arlington Park, Hawthorne Race Course, and Fairmont Park, a total of 420 racing programs were requested.
The upcoming meet at Pinnacle Race Course in Michigan will be cut in half under an executive order issued June 2 by Michigan's racing commissioner, Christine White.
The Michigan House and Senate are scrambling to find alternative funds for the Office of Racing Commissioner after a government order given the week of May 11 wiped out all the funds for Thoroughbred programs in order to pay state debts.
Pinnacle Race Course, which just opened last year, has been ordered to cut 2009 dates by 63% because of budget reductions in Michigan, the Michigan Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association reported May 20.
The meet at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots got a little bit longer calendar-wise in 2008-09, and it will get even longer in 2009-10.
Calder Race Course begins its 39th season of Thoroughbred horse racing April 24 with a Thursday-through Sunday schedule.
Calder Race Course March 31 submitted its final filing for 2009-10 racing dates to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and it confirms earlier reports that Calder will not run head-to-head with nearby Gulfstream Park during that period.
Gulfstream Park said March 27 it will run its next meet from Jan. 3, 2010 to April 24, 2010, ending speculation it could seek dates in November and December of 2009.
- By Tom LaMarra
Fort Erie Race Track & Slots in Ontario, Canada, will offer live Thoroughbred racing this year, and the local horsemen's group is asking for support from owners and trainers.
Representatives of two Kentucky Thoroughbred tracks said they will be forced to reduce racing dates due to declining economic conditions, with the owner of Ellis Park saying his track would not race in 2010 unless alternative gaming is legalized in the Bluegrass State.
Turfway Park is having a tough time making up for programs canceled because of the weather during the current winter/spring meet.
Sam Houston Race Park will begin repairs to the roof of its grandstand, as well as additional construction to rebuild portions of the stable and track areas, weather permitting beginning Jan. 22.
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.
After running the longest Thoroughbred meet in its 12-year history at 45 days, officials with Colonial Downs Dec. 17 proposed a 25-day meet in 2009.
Economic conditions have led the operators of Pinnacle Race Course in Michigan to put some expansion plans on hold, but the track's inaugural meet in 2008 exceeded expectations, officials said.
With a little more than two weeks remaining before the scheduled shutdown of the barn area at Beulah Park, management and horsemen still have no deal to continue live racing in January. But developments on a national level could quickly turn things around.
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.
The New Jersey Racing Commission granted 2009 racing dates Nov. 19 for Atlantic City Race Course and Freehold Raceway, two tracks that have been involved in conflicts tied to casino-paid purse supplements.
About 1,000 Thoroughbreds could be forced to leave the grounds of Beulah Park by the end of this year if the racetrack and horsemen's association don't have a deal for advance deposit wagering revenue in place by Nov. 21, the day the Ohio State Racing Commission will award racing dates for 2009.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Downs have submitted requests for 2009 schedules that could significantly impact surrounding states.
Sam Houston Race Park canceled its 2008-09 meet and transferred 43 of its originally scheduled 65 days to Retama Park, a move approved by the Texas Racing Commission during a special meeting Oct. 28.
Beulah Park and the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have "agreed to disagree" on contractual issues, but a temporary agreement has allowed the track to restore previous purse levels and export its signal.
Beulah Park, locked in a dispute that centers on revenue from advance deposit wagering, intends to resume live racing Oct. 22 but with greatly reduced purses and no export of its signal outside of Ohio.
The 2008-09 Sam Houston Race Park meet probably won't make its Nov. 28 start date given extensive damage sustained by the track during Hurricane Ike, according to chief operating officer Andrea Young. Officials in Texas are studying alternatives should that be the case.
Barring fruitful negotiations -- and that scenario currently doesn't appear possible -- it could be months before decisions on Thoroughbred racing dates in Ohio are made.
Del Mar's traditional seven-week summer meet could undergo some changes in the next few years, as Hollywood Park heads for development and the entire Southern California racing calendar adjusts.
Officials with two Ohio racetracks indicated they hope to offer Thoroughbred meets in 2009 and could be close to a deal with local horsemen on revenue from advance deposit wagering.
The Texas Racing Commission has awarded 162 Thoroughbred racing dates for 2009, the same number granted for 2008.
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.
Beulah Park and River Downs, two Ohio Thoroughbred tracks that race more than 200 dates combined, have requested only Quarter Horse dates for 2009, a track official said Aug. 18.
Requests for 2009 racing dates in Illinois show a few overlaps, including a month between Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course in late summer and early fall.
John Brunetti, the owner of Hialeah Park, said he has spoken "briefly" to Halsey Minor about the technology entrepreneur's dream to buy and reopen the South Florida track. But even though the two men have agreed to talk again in early August, Brunetti told Minor he "isn't really interested in selling yet" because he still hopes to resurrect Hialeah himself.
Suffolk Downs will move to a four-day week with live racing on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule beginning June 4.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Thistledown have an agreement in principle for 122 days of live racing at the Cleveland-area track this year.
The clock is ticking on negotiations between the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Thistledown, the Cleveland-area racetrack whose 2008 Thoroughbred meet is in jeopardy because of a conflict over racing dates.
- By Tom LaMarra
Delaware Park could conduct no less than 135 days of Thoroughbred racing each year under legislation introduced in the state General Assembly.
Live racing in the heart of Hot Springs, Ark., kicks off Jan. 18 as the 56-day Thoroughbred meet gets under way at Oaklawn Park. The historic facility first hosted racing in 1905.
Colonial Downs in Virginia is on the market because of its inability to add other forms of gambling, track owner Jacobs Entertainment said in a Jan. 11 notice.
Canterbury Park received approval from the Minnesota Racing Commission Dec. 20 to conduct a 67-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet May 3-Sept. 1 next year.
- By Tom LaMarra
Two Ohio racetracks that share the Columbus market have reached a new agreement on full-card simulcasts designed to aid patrons and perhaps their bottom lines.
Seeking overall growth in horse racing, the Virginia Racing Commission Dec. 19 extended Colonial Downs' request for 40 days of live Thoroughbred racing to 45 for 2008.
With more dates in 2008 and, at this point, no purse subsidy from the state, New Jersey racing is at the crossroads again.
The New York Racing Association released its 2008 stakes schedule Dec. 12, following approval by NYRA's board of trustees at its monthly meeting. The New York State Racing and Wagering Board still must give its approval, a standard procedure.
- By Tom LaMarra
Two Thoroughbred tracks owned by MTR Gaming Group have scheduled 332 racing dates for 2008.
Les Bois Park in Boise, Idaho, has been approved for a 46-day meet in 2008.
- By Tom LaMarra
A controversial plan to shave live racing dates at Thistledown in 2008 could result in the halt of full-card simulcasts at the Cleveland-area racetrack in 2009.
Santa Anita Park will shake up its racing schedule this winter in what it says is an effort to stimulate on-track business.
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