Remington Files Appeal on 2003 Racing Dates

Remington Park has filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Racing Commission to amend its 2003 racing dates. The Oklahoma City racetrack hopes to extend its summer mix meet by three days and have the meet opened to Thoroughbreds.

The track's request for a reconsideration of its dates will be heard Nov. 14 at 9:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission offices. The commission will first decide whether to reconsider the dates, then it will conduct a separate hearing if the request is approved.

Gordon Hare, the commission's executive director, said he hopes to combine the two proceedings.

"It would be in the interest of time, since we are rather late in the year," Hare said. "I have been speaking with our attorney and he felt we may have the ability to combine the initial decision and the actually hearing to make a decision. We have to be sure we are giving proper notice and opportunity to the other parties."

In September, Remington Park had asked the commission to eliminate its Quarter Horse dates and approve only a 65-day Thoroughbred meet. The Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association successfully fought the proposal and Remington Park was order to run a mixed meet next year.

The track, which is owned by Magna Entertainment, came back to the commission Oct. 17 with a proposal to run a 20-day mixed meet Aug. 7 through Sept. 1 for Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Paints, and Appaloosas, and follow it with 50-day Thoroughbred meet. Again spurred by opposition from the Quarter Horse racing industry, the commission ruled that Remington could not run Thoroughbred races during the mixed meet.

Remington Park appealed the commission's ruling Oct. 30 on the grounds that the commission didnĂȘt have all the information it needed to "understand fully the practical problems raised by not including Thoroughbreds in the mixed meet," according to the track's application for reconsideration.

According to Remington, the commission should consider:

* that it would be practically impossible for Remington to continue offering stabling for Thoroughbreds if it is to successfully fill nine Quarter Horse, Paint, and Appaloosa races five days a week, and

* that the 50-day Thoroughbred meet would attract a greater number of horsemen if they had an opportunity to run in August. Without the chance to race in August, the track is concerned that horsemen will choose to race somewhere else.

"We hope with some minor adjustment we can move forward," said Corey Johnsen, a regional vice president with Magna, which also recently acquired Lone Star Park near Dallas.