River Downs in Ohio is currently a construction site.

River Downs in Ohio is currently a construction site.

Tom LaMarra

River-at-Beulah Meet Close to Being Finalized

The Ohio State Racing Commission could sign off on the plan March 20.

The transfer of the 2013 River Downs meet to Beulah Park could get Ohio State Racing Commission approval March 20.

The OSRC, which met March 12 to predominantly discuss racetrack relocation proposals, was scheduled to address the River Downs-at-Beulah Park meet but removed it from the agenda. Some details are still being ironed out, officials said, but the meet is expected to be held.

The River Downs grandstand has been leveled to make way for a new racetrack gaming facility, so it can't accommodate a meet this year. Full-card simulcasts will continue in the old clubhouse building until the new facility is completed sometime in 2014.

Though not official, plans call for Beulah Park near Columbus to offer 65 days of River Downs racing from May 19-Sept. 23 with racing four days a week. All racing will be on dirt because Beulah Park doesn't have a turf course.

Beulah Park staff will man the meet, which apparently is tied to a deal between Beulah Park owner Penn National Gaming Inc. and the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association on plans for the proposed Hollywood Mahoning Valley Race Course near Youngstown.

PNGI intends to shutter Beulah Park and relocate its license to Mahoning Valley. The company is negotiating with the Ohio HBPA on things such as number of stalls at the new facility, which will have video lottery terminals.

It's expected Beulah Park will hold its customary fall-through-early spring meet in 2013-14. Mahoning Valley isn't expected to open until sometime in 2014 at the earliest.