Charles Town HBPA Has New Contract

The Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association announced Jan. 7 it has signed a new contract with Penn National Gaming Inc., owner of Charles Town Races & Slots, which increases the number of live racing dates per year.

The pact is for three years, with two one-year extensions should both sides agree, according to a release from the horsemen's association. There is a commitment to 245 live racing programs a year, with a minimum of 10 races, up from 210 programs a year.

The 2004 calendar was disrupted on several occasions. The racetrack was closed for much of August for renovation of the racing surface as scheduled. But problems with the surface led to multiple cancellations in September. Charles Town ended up carding 12-race programs and adding dates through the rest of the year.

The horsemen's group said the contract establishes an arbitration procedure for issues on which the Charles Town HBPA and track management can't agree. If either side believes the other has violated the contract, each side would appoint an arbitrator. Those arbitrators will appoint a third arbitrator, and both sides would agree to abide by the decision rendered by the panel.

In other business, a pension plan containing about $500,000 is now operational. Funds are now being deposited into the individual accounts of horsemen.

The Charles Town HBPA, with assistance from the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, will donate $30,000 to a relief fund to assist victims of the recent tsunami in Asia.