Beulah Gets California Signals, Raises Purses

Beulah Park in Ohio and the Thoroughbred Owners of California recently came to an agreement that restored signals from two California racetracks.

The conflict stemmed from an ongoing dispute between Beulah Park and the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association that led horsemen to sue the state, the Ohio State Racing Commission, and Beulah Park. The Ohio HBPA had denied consent to send the Beulah Park signal to a Pennsylvania harness racino, but Beulah Park, as permitted under Ohio law, asked the racing commission to intervene.

In February, the TOC stood by Ohio horsemen and denied the Bay Meadows and Santa Anita Park signals to Beulah Park. Under the 1996 simulcast law in Ohio, all tracks in the state must have access to incoming signals, or no track can have them.

Beulah Park waived its rights to the California signals, which meant Scioto Downs, a Columbus harness track located about 15 minutes from Beulah Park, had the signals for a several weeks and ended up with some of the Thoroughbred track’s business. Ongoing frustrations led Beulah Park ownership to rescind the waiver March 10, but the following day, Beulah Park and six other tracks in the state had the signals.

“We sent the TOC a letter stating we embrace the Interstate Horseracing Act and really never challenged it,” Beulah Park general manager Mike Weiss said. “And even though we have the contractual right to (ask the racing commission to intervene), we’re not going to do it anymore.”

Beulah Park owner Charlie Ruma ordered a 20% purse cut soon after the horsemen sued, but Weiss said purses have been restored to previous levels. The agreement with the TOC has no impact on the Ohio HBPA lawsuit, which could be heard this summer.