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Indiana Downs Racing Halted Pending Probe

The racing commission is responding to allegations from state's horsemen group.

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission has suspended live racing at Indiana Downs June 15-16 pending examination of the track’s racing surface.

IHRC executive director Joe Gorajec, in a directive issued June 14, said the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association requested the shutdown because of an “allegedly dangerous racing surface.” He said the cancellations were necessary to ensure the safety of jockeys and horses.

The IHRC staff and stewards will conduct an investigation into the horsemen’s allegations, Gorajec said, and a “decision on the remainder of the rest of the race meet” will be made by June 17.

According to sources about 50 trainers signed a petition claiming the dirt surface was too hard following Quarter Horse trials the weekend of June 9.

Indiana Downs in a statement said it "vehemently disagrees" with the contention its surface is unsafe, and that it expects a "clean bill of health" after the investigation. Officials said they expect training and racing to resume June 18, when the next live racing program is scheduled.

Despite the suspension of racing, Gorajec, in his directive, said the Indiana Downs meet “has an admirable track safety record” that is “on pace to be one of the safest meets” in the United States in 2012.

The Indiana Downs Thoroughbred meet extends into mid-July. The Standardbred meet begins a few weeks after.