Virginia Defining Horsemen's Group Criteria

VRC to meet June 9 to finish criteria on official horsemen's group.

With legislation in place calling for the Virginia Racing Commission to recognize one official horsemen's group on the Thoroughbred side and one on the Standardbred side in the state, the regulatory body is busy shaping the criteria it will use to determine each official group.

The Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association appears to be the only group on the Thoroughbred side.

The VRC held the first of two meetings to shape that criteria May 28 and will conduct a second meeting June 9. 

The legislation arrived to clearly define which horsemen's groups will receive purse funds from ADW wagering in the state and to clarify that the VRC will only recognize one horsemen's group for each breed. A year ago, Colonial Downs, which had been at odds with the Virginia HBPA, attempted to rally support for a new horsemen's group, the Old Dominion Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.

The Virginia HBPA and Colonial Downs failed to reach an agreement on a racing schedule last year, with horsemen wanting more dates and Colonial favoring fewer dates. With the dispute unsettled, no racing was contested last year at Colonial, which turned in its racing license late in the year.

"Basically what we have here is the Virginia HBPA. It's been the only horsemen's group since the inception of Thoroughbred racing in the state," said VRC executive secretary Bernie Hettel.

Hettel said discussion continues on adding some flat races at Great Meadow, site of the Virginia Gold Cup.