Playfair Slated to Race in 2003

Eric Nelson wants to return Playfair Race Course near Spokane, Wash., to its "glory days." On Oct. 31 the Washington Horse Racing Commission gave Nelson the go-ahead to start that process by granting him an operating license. Nelson said once the Nov. 11 appeal date passes, he is poised to get working so the track can host off-track betting as early as Dec. 26. The WHRC included a facility upgrade among its contingencies for Nelson's license.

"We're planning to spend a lot more money and restore the facility," said Nelson. "It's an old facility and we've got some remodeling to do."

Nelson has hired Ross Yearout as a consultant to handle some of the legwork in Spokane. Yearout said Nelson had been in negotiations with local horsemen for about four months and offered them a contract on Nov. 5.

Yearout, who was general manager when the track was operated by Lilac City Racing, said the facility's equipment could handle up to 16 simulcast signals. According to Washington law, full card simulcasting is permitted only at live racing venues up to 14 hours a day, five days a week.

Since May, when Nelson inked his deal to lease Playfair with the option to buy the track, he has said he wants to bring Instant Racing to Washington. He said he hopes to propose those machines to the WHRC in December or February.