Ohio Commission Floats Proposed Racing Schedule

Only one Thoroughbred racetrack would be open in the Buckeye state roughly seven months of the year under a 2005 schedule proposed by the Ohio State Racing Commission.

In a Sept. 14 letter to racetracks and horsemen's groups, racing commission chairman Scott Borgemenke said the schedule isn't "set in stone" and would be discussed extensively at the commission's Sept. 17 meeting. Racing dates will be awarded in October.

Thistledown near Cleveland would race 154 days, Beulah Park in Grove City 113 days, and River Downs near Cincinnati 90 days. The overlap would occur from May through early September, with River Downs and Thistledown open simultaneously.

Beulah Park would race four days a week in January and February, and five days a week in March and April. It would reopen Nov. 14 for a three-week overlap with Thistledown, but then stand alone most of December.

Thistledown would open May 6, the day before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and race five days a week through Dec. 5. Thistledown would have most of September, all of October, and the first two weeks of November to itself.

River Downs is the only Thoroughbred track with a consistent overlap. It would open May 6 and race through Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day. In a change, however, it would race five days a week instead of six. Thistledown would be open every day River Downs is open.

The two tracks would overlap presumably because they are located about four hours apart, and because River Downs draws heavily from Kentucky to fill its races.

There would be no live racing on Wednesdays or Thursdays throughout the year under the commission's proposal.

On the Standardbred side, Northfield Park near Cleveland would maintain year-round racing but the seasons at Lebanon Raceway near Dayton and Raceway Park in Toledo would be curtailed.

The schedule has Northfield racing 208 days, Lebanon Raceway and Scioto Downs each 72 days, and Raceway Park 69 days. There would be no fall racing at Lebanon, and Raceway would open in September rather than March.