Horsemen Have Month to Comment on Dates Plan

Edited release from Ohio State Racing Commission

Horsemen's groups have until Oct. 14 to state their positions on a proposed reduction in live racing dates in the Buckeye state, the Ohio State Racing Commission said during its Sept. 17 meeting.

The commission, chaired by Scott Borgemenke, has floated a proposal whereby 357 Thoroughbred dates would be scheduled in 2005, 97 less than this year. Standardbred dates would total 421 next year, down from 526 in 2004.

Borgemenke during the meeting said he made the proposal "in order to increase overnight purses and stay competitive with surrounding states."

The Ohio Revised Code requires a minimum number of live racing days each year, the commission said in a release. The minimum can be lowered if all the racetracks and horsemen's associations agree unanimously to any reduction. An agreement is in effect allowing any track to race live up to 17% fewer dates than it did in 1991, not counting winter days.

Representatives of Beulah Park and River Downs said they support fewer dates but they questioned the number of days that would be lopped off their calendars. Thistedown supports the racing commission plan.

Dan Theno, executive director of the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, presented the commission with 12 questions or concerns. He said Thoroughbred horsemen need more information about the experiment. The Ohio HBPA and Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association have about a month to make their cases.

The commission will award live and simulcast racing dates at its next meeting Oct. 20 at Beulah Park.