Thistledown Won't Lose Operating Permit

Thistledown Won't Lose Operating Permit
Photo: Courtesy Thistledown
The Grandstand at Thistledown.

Thistledown owner Magna Entertainment Corp. has met the deadline for payment of a $1-million bond to the Ohio State Racing Commission, which means the Cleveland-area racetrack will not have its operating permit suspended.

Track officials made the announcement March 27, about 10 hours before the 12 a.m. EDT deadline. If the permit had been suspended, Thistledown would have had to pull the plug on daily full-card simulcasts. Live racing begins April 30.

The OSRC requires bonds of all racetracks to cover payments and potential revenue losses should meets not be held for any reason.

The OSRC and Thistledown officials discussed the situation at the March 19 racing commission meeting. MEC at the time announced its ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding made obtaining the bond difficult, though the company expected to have it place by the deadline.

A track official said it’s now “business as usual” at Thistledown, which was approved for 122 racing days this year. Racing will be held Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with some Thursdays added in the summer. The meet ends Oct. 31.

Last year, the OSRC granted the track’s request for 91 days, but after negotiations with the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, upped the amount to 122 just before the March 19 meeting. MEC attorney William Ford at the time said bankruptcy court approval wasn’t necessary for the updated request for dates.

“The court allows you to maximize the value of your assets,” Ford said.

Thistledown's barn area opens March 30, with training set to begin April 1, track officials said.

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