Lack of Deal Stalls River-at-Beulah Meet

The Ohio State Racing Commission deferred action on the meet April 16.

The Ohio State Racing Commission April 16 once again deferred action on a proposal to transfer the River Downs meet to Beulah Park because horsemen and Penn National Gaming Inc. have no contract for the meet.

PNGI owns Beulah Park, the Columbus-area track it hopes to relocate to Austintown Township near Youngstown. The new facility would have video lottery terminals under a 2011 law.

The proposed 2013 River Downs-at-Beulah Park meet is tied to an agreement between the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and PNGI on racing dates and stabling accommodations at the new track, which is scheduled to open sometime in 2014.

Most facilities at River Downs, owned by Pinnacle Entertainment, have been leveled to make way for a new racetrack gaming facility set to open next year on the Cincinnati-area property. The track is not equipped to host a live meet this year.

Pinnacle and PNGI already had a deal on the meet transfer.

PNGI vice president Chris McErlean acknowledged there is no contract with horsemen, thus the OSRC could not approve the 65-day meet, which is supposed to begin May 19 and run through early October. Plans call for many of the Ohio-bred stakes usually run at River Downs to be held at Beulah Park.

McErlean also said action by the OSRC on plans for the relocated Beulah Park, called Hollywood Mahoning Valley Race Course, was tabled. The racing commission has pushed PNGI to revise its floor plan to allow for more seating with views of the racetrack.