This year's $500,000 Ohio Derby in retrospect can be considered a success on several levels, and management at ThistleDown Racino expects the marquee race--and the overall racing product--to only get better.
Belterra Park received its meet approvals from the Ohio State Racing Commission April 29 and is on schedule to begin its 2014 meet May 8.
Ohio Thoroughbred breeders were told April 5 that supporting stallions based in the state should be a big part of the equation in the new environment of racetrack gaming.
With a deadline fast approaching, Ohio racetracks and horsemen's groups indicated Dec. 19 they are close to having definite deals on the percentage of video lottery terminal revenue that will go to purses.
Amid another call for separate medication rules for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, the Ohio State Racing Commission has indicated it's not prepared to adopt a uniform national drug policy.
The Ohio State Racing Commission was unable to act on 2014 racing dates at its Sept. 24 meeting, but a horsemen's representative said negotiations on dates are progressing.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association board of directors July 14 signed off on recommended changes to a proposed model rule on medication penalties but acknowledged acceptance could be hard to achieve.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association most likely will make recommendations for revisions to the proposed national model rule on medication penalties.
The lack of an agreement on a revenue split from video lottery terminals continues to keep the signal from ThistleDown Racino from being exported outside of Ohio.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has informed Thistledown it won't grant the track approval to export its signal when live racing begins April 19 because it has no deal with horsemen on VLT revenue.
The Ohio State Racing Commission put racetrack casino developers on notice Jan. 10 when, at a hearing, members expressed strong displeasure with the racing aspects of the proposed Miami Valley Gaming and Racing facility.
Negotiations continued Dec. 12 among the Ohio parties involved in a possible shift of the River Downs meet to Beulah Park in 2013.
The awarding of 2013 Thoroughbred racing dates in Ohio has stalled given the fact the meet at River Downs may have to move to Beulah Park because of construction of a new racetrack gaming facility.
With one exception, there could be little change in live racing dates at Ohio tracks in 2013, but significant alterations are possible for 2014 should more facilities begin operating video lottery terminals.
Given the current climate of Thoroughbred racing, it's no surprise that health, safety, and medications were the primary topics of discussion at a meeting of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
Language pertaining to the horse racing industry remained intact May 24 when the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate passed a casino cleanup bill that was sent to Republican Gov. John Kasich for his signature.
Racetracks and horsemen's groups in Ohio continue to wrestle over how much purses and breed development programs will receive from track-based video lottery terminals, which were legalized earlier this year.
River Downs near Cincinnati plans to open for live racing May 13, two weeks later than scheduled because of severe Ohio River flooding.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has reached an agreement with a Cleveland-area harness track that will avoid a potential blackout of Triple Crown simulcasts in the state.
Predictions the Ohio River near Cincinnati, Ohio, will rise above flood stage the weekend of April 23-24 has forced the evacuation of about 400 horses from the barn area at River Downs.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is in negotiations with a Cleveland-area harness track to avoid a situation that could lead to a statewide simulcast blackout of the May 7 Kentucky Derby.
Horsemen were told March 18 of the importance of keeping close watch of purse accounts, money from which sometimes ends up commingled with racetrack operating accounts or tangled in bankruptcy cases.
Ohio's three Thoroughbred racetracks have mapped out their live racing schedules for 2011, but two of them still have no agreement with horsemen on racing dates.
Kentucky Senate President David Williams said April 27 issues in the horse racing and pari-mutuel industry are "complicated," but lawmakers intend to continue working on ways to strengthen the business.
Absent an agreement with horsemen, River Downs will begin its live meet April 16 with a minimum purse of $3,200, the lowest in almost two decades, in yet another sign of a struggling Ohio horse racing industry.
The Ohio State Racing Commission has approved 2010 racing dates for two Thoroughbred tracks, but the facilities still have no agreement with horsemen on the schedules.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association issued a statement July 16 confirming it will have to negotiate with racetracks for purse revenue from video lottery terminals.
As Ohio racetracks are busy working on a plan for racetrack gaming, horsemen's groups are lobbying the state legislature to get behind Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal for video lottery terminals at tracks.
Racetrack management and horsemen in Ohio struck an agreement Dec. 16 that will reinstate more than 160 Thoroughbred racing dates at Beulah Park and River Downs in 2009, and save more than 1,000 horses at Beulah Park from being forced out of the track's stable area by Dec. 27.
With a little more than two weeks remaining before the scheduled shutdown of the barn area at Beulah Park, management and horsemen still have no deal to continue live racing in January. But developments on a national level could quickly turn things around.
Winter racing at Beulah Park was plowed under and the spring/summer meet at River Downs went up in flames Nov. 21 when the Ohio State Racing Commission awarded 2009 dates that represent a loss of more than 160 days of Thoroughbred racing at the two tracks.
A recent deal that allowed expanded distribution of the Fair Grounds racing signal was hailed by some as a step forward in the months-long nationwide dispute between horsemen, racetracks, and advance deposit wagering entities. But some horsemen's groups are categorizing the development as a step backwards in an overall plan to secure higher revenue shares for purses from a growing wagering segment.
About 1,000 Thoroughbreds could be forced to leave the grounds of Beulah Park by the end of this year if the racetrack and horsemen's association don't have a deal for advance deposit wagering revenue in place by Nov. 21, the day the Ohio State Racing Commission will award racing dates for 2009.
Barring fruitful negotiations -- and that scenario currently doesn't appear possible -- it could be months before decisions on Thoroughbred racing dates in Ohio are made.
Officials with two Ohio racetracks indicated they hope to offer Thoroughbred meets in 2009 and could be close to a deal with local horsemen on revenue from advance deposit wagering.
Declines in on-track wagering, a dispute with the New York Racing Association over signal fees, and horsemen's refusal to allow six major advance deposit wagering outlets to take its signal has led River Downs to cut purses 15%-18% effective May 8.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Thistledown have an agreement in principle for 122 days of live racing at the Cleveland-area track this year.
The Ohio horse industry, in an effort to make its voice heard around the Buckeye State, has formed a coalition similar to the Kentucky Equine Education Project, a horse industry advocacy group in Kentucky.
Thistledown, the Ohio racetrack that has shaved about 50 racing dates off its schedule since 2005, has requested another major reduction for 2008 to maintain profitability.
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