The record-setting rains of April in the Cincinnati, Ohio area have forced officials at River Downs to push back their expected live racing opening of Friday, April 29, to a date yet to be determined.
Predictions the Ohio River near Cincinnati, Ohio, will rise above flood stage the weekend of April 23-24 has forced the evacuation of about 400 horses from the barn area at River Downs.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is in negotiations with a Cleveland-area harness track to avoid a situation that could lead to a statewide simulcast blackout of the May 7 Kentucky Derby.
Having compromised on the number of racing dates, Pinnacle Entertainment and the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have agreed on a contract for the 2011 meet at River Downs.
Pinnacle Entertainment, a Las Vegas-based casino company, said Jan. 28 it has closed on the purchase of River Downs in Ohio for $45 million in cash.
Pinnacle Entertainment has named Kevin Kaufman, general manager of its Belterra Casino in Indiana, as general manager of River Downs in Ohio.
Ohio's three Thoroughbred racetracks have mapped out their live racing schedules for 2011, but two of them still have no agreement with horsemen on racing dates.
Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment confirmed Nov. 26 it has a deal to purchase River Downs near Cincinnati, Ohio, for $45 million.
Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. reported a reduced net income loss for the third quarter and said it's looking to expand into new markets while adhering to "disciplined capital-spend and return metrics."
River Downs near Cincinnati, Ohio, has been sold to Pinnacle Entertainment, a gaming company that operates a casino in neighboring Indiana, according to sources close to the matter.
The Ohio State Racing Commission has approved 325 live Thoroughbred racing dates -- 33 fewer than this year -- for 2011.
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Jockey Perry Ouzts, who has ridden at River Downs in Cincinnati, Ohio for 37 seasons, has set the record for wins during the Jockey Club Meet.
Total racing dates would continue to drop under 2011 requests submitted by Ohio's seven racetracks Aug. 19.
Richard Rettele, a 70-year-old who trains Thoroughbreds and rides Quarter Horses, just keeps on going -- he won a $15,000 stakes aboard Fearles Fred in the $15,000 Queen City Dash at River Downs in Ohio Aug. 10.
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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%.
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund will benefit from an annual donation tied to the Norm Barron Queen City Oaks, an Ohio-bred stakes to be run at River Downs July 17.
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.
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Richard "Dickie Burge, a racetracker for 60 years, died May 23 at Anderson Mercy Hospital, not far from River Downs, where he held various positions.
- By Tom LaMarra
River Downs, situated on the banks of the Ohio River near Cincinnati, opens April 16 for its 86th season. Read More
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.
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.
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.
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.
For most women with six children and six grandchildren, the next step in their life includes things like retirement and relaxation. But for Sherry Kirk, there will be no baking cakes, sewing, or taking strolls on the beach. Those things can wait another 20 years. For now, she is just getting started on the second half of her riding career.
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.
As Ohio racetracks are busy working on a plan for racetrack gaming, horsemen's groups are lobbying the state legislature to get behind Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal for video lottery terminals at tracks.
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.
Trainer Wesley Ward, who plans a venture to the Royal Ascot meet in England this year, came away from River Downs very pleased with the performances of members of his stable that prepped in front of the public at the Ohio track May 24.
Veteran jockey Vernon Bush, who learned the art of race riding watching his father, Vernon Sr., who was one of New England's top riders in the 1940s and 1950s, won the 3,000th race of his career when he guided Loadthewagon to a front-running win in the eighth race at River Downs May 9.
Thistledown, at the suggestion of the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, has suspended the $300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) for 3-year-olds. The race was to have its 75th running in 2009.
The Ohio State Racing Commission ruled March 19 that Thistledown's racing permit will be suspended as of March 28 if parent company Magna Entertainment Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 5, fails to renew a $1-million bond.
The marquee race at River Downs in Ohio will now be titled the $200,000 Budweiser Select Cradle Stakes. Since 1977, the Miller Brewing Co. had sponsored Ohio's richest race for 2-year-olds.
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.
Racetrack management and horsemen in Ohio struck an agreement Dec. 16 that will reinstate more than 160 Thoroughbred racing dates at Beulah Park and River Downs in 2009, and save more than 1,000 horses at Beulah Park from being forced out of the track's stable area by Dec. 27.
The Ohio Racing Commission has confirmed it is investigating a Nov. 19 incident at Beulah Park in which the track identifier failed to discover before the fourth race a different horse than was entered by trainer owner/trainer Enzo Canelo ran and crossed the wire first.
An Ohio lawmaker whose district includes River Downs said Nov. 26 he plans to introduce legislation in 2009 for casino-style gaming that would support the horse racing and breeding in the state.
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.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Downs have submitted requests for 2009 schedules that could significantly impact surrounding states.
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.
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.
United States District Court Judge Michael Watson granted the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's motion for partial judgment on the pleadings in its lawsuit versus the Ohio State Racing Commission, Beulah Park, River Downs, Chester Downs, and others.
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.
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.
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