Mahoning Valley Opens Barn Area, Dirt Track

Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course opened its barn area and dirt racing surface for training as scheduled Nov. 10 in advance of a Nov. 24 opening day.

Owned by Penn National Gaming Inc., Mahoning Valley in the Youngstown area is the replacement for Beulah Park near Columbus. PNGI, as part of legislation authorizing video lottery terminals, moved its Beulah Park license to northeastern Ohio to build a new track with VLTs and other amenities.

PNGI vice president of racing Chris McErlean said Nov. 10 said the barn area, which can house almost 1,000 horses, is ready to go with the exception of some last-minute work. Some horses were on the track for training.

The top of the dirt surface is from the same quarry used by ThistleDown Racino and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. Many of the same horses will race at those three tracks through the course of the year.

Mahoning Valley, the last of seven Ohio tracks to open with gaming, will race Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday afternoons with first post at 12:45 p.m. EST through Dec. 30, then reopen Jan. 5, 2015, and race through April 25. It will follow the same schedule as Beulah Park.

Because the VLT operation at Mahoning Valley just opened in late September, the first condition book reflects conservative purses. The minimum is $5,000 for $3,500 claimers with conditions; a maiden special weight event will go for $12,500 ($17,500 for Ohio-breds); and an open $5,000 claimer for $9,000.

McErlean earlier said purses will average about $50,000 a day to start. For its final meet that ended May 3, Beulah Park averaged $34,691 per day in purses, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems.

Pari-mutuel takeout rates at Mahoning Valley will go from a low of 15% for pick threes and pick fours to 18% for win, place, and show bets and 22.5% for all other wagers.