River Downs

River Downs

Christine A. Wittmer

River Releases Condition Book, Avoids Fine

River Downs released its first condition less than three weeks before opening day.

River Downs, which is hoping to trim racing dates to maintain purses at 2009 levels, released its first condition book March 29 and avoided being fined by the Ohio State Racing Commission.

River Downs, which opens April 16, hadn’t released its condition book as of March 26, when the OSRC held its regular meeting. OSRC officials questioned the delay; River Downs general manager Jack Hanessian said the track was hoping to strike a deal on dates with horsemen and increase purses before the first book was released.

The OSRC was prepared to fine River Downs $1,000 a day if the book wasn’t released by March 29.

As Hanessian said March 26, the minimum purse is $3,200, the lowest in almost two decades. The minimum claiming price has dropped to $3,500 from $4,000.

Maiden special weight events will go for $6,000 and an open $5,000 claimer for only $4,400. The purse for an allowance event with no conditions is $10,000.

Hanessian has said he hopes to meet with local horsemen as the barn areas fills to win support for his plan to race four days a week instead of five in an effort to boost purses from published levels.

As of now, River Downs will race live on a Friday-through-Tuesday schedule. The first turf race of the meet is scheduled for April 24.