Capitol Racing Has Two-Year Pact With Fair Board

Capitol Racing and the California Exposition and State Fair reached a two-year agreement July 28, but it's possible the contract for the Standardbred meet at Cal Expo will be put out for bid in the future.

The Sacramento Bee reported Capitol Racing, which operates a harness meet and leases Cal Expo, would pay an $800,000 increase in annual rent and another $200,000 on improvements to the facility. In return, it has the right to operate harness meets through July 2005.

The Sacramento meet, which handles almost $1 million a day in total wagers, is the only harness meet in California. Several other parties have expressed an interest in operating the meet, which heavily relies on export of its signal in California and other outlets in the United States.

"(The) agreement brings stability to the harness racing industry and protects the hundreds of people and their families whose income depends on harness racing at Cal Expo," Cal Expo general manager Norb Bartosik told the Bee.

The California Horse Racing Board granted Capitol Racing a conditional license July 25.