River Downs, which will open for its 80th season Friday, has installed a new racing surface on its main track that is expected to better withstand the rigors of live racing during the summer months and require less daily maintenance.In the last month, the entire base of the one-mile main track was removed and a Geogrid Plastic called Tensar BX1200 was set in place beneath the limestone to displace weight. The first horses took to the track for training over the weekend of April 2 and trainers and jockeys gave the new footing high marks. "It felt good this morning, I worked a couple this morning and they went real good," said jockey Perry Ouzts who will be riding at the track for his 32nd consecutive year. "I'd have to give it an A."Lori Grace, a former jockey who now trains and gallops her own horses said she was impressed as well. "It's in great shape, this is the best I've ever seen it. The track is excellent, they just float across it, it's unbelievable, they went dynamite today."Homer (Joey) Van Hoosier agreed. "You don't even hear the horses going over it," said the veteran clocker. "It's as if their hooves go in and they just bounce out of there. This is the best I've ever seen it."After opening weekend, live racing at the Cincinnati track will take place in April on a Thursday through Sunday schedule. Starting the first week in May the live program will begin a six-day schedule with Wednesday as the dark day for live racing with few exceptions. River Downs will share a 7&7 program Thursday through Monday, and we will present a solo card each Tuesday.
Simulcasting will still take place every day and evening. Post time for live racing will be 1:15 p.m. except Fridays starting May 27 when first post will be 2:30 p.m. The live meet will run through Labor Day, Sept. 5 when the track presents the $200,000 Miller Lite Cradle Stakes.