Colonial Downs

Colonial Downs

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Colonial Downs 2014 Meeting in Jeopardy

Virginia horsemen, track have failed to reach an agreement on this year's schedule.

Racing at Colonial Downs this year appears to be unlikely as horsemen in Virginia and the track have failed to reach an agreement on the schedule.

On May 23, Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association executive director Frank Petramalo Jr. said the two sides made no progress in meetings held a day earlier.

"I'd say we're a two on a scale of one to 100 on reaching an agreement," Petramalo said.

The Virginia Racing Commission, which has pushed back the deadline for an agreement several times, canceled Thursday's scheduled special meeting at which the regulator hoped to announce a 2014 race schedule. The VRC has approved 25 race dates for 2014 but the track and horsemen have failed to reach an agreement. 

A high hurdle has been that the track wants compensation for revenues from handle it lost when, because an agreement wasn't reached with horsemen, it could no longer take in Thoroughbred simulcast signals and was forced to shut down off-track outlets. The track said it suffered a $1.5 million hit because of the closings.

Petramalo has disputed the amount of losses reported by the track and noted that horsemen also lost money because of the closures.

The initial dispute was over the nature of the meet. The track favors fewer race days with higher daily purses while the Virginia HBPA has called for the purse money to be spread out over more race dates.