In addition to considering other items on the agenda, the Ohio State Racing Commission heard details from the Ohio Department of Agriculture Analytical Toxicology Laboratory's 2013 annual report presented by its director, Soobeng Tan, at its monthly meeting in Columbus earlier today.
Overall, 14,523 blood and urine samples from humans and horses were tested last year. Equine positive findings declined almost 42 percent, from 130 in 2012 to 76 last year.
Dr. Beverly Byrum, the Department of Agriculture's division chief, also spoke and responded to questions.
In a decision related to racing, Scioto Downs won approval to make up a live racing program on Aug. 5. Racing was cancelled after the starter, an independent contractor, was delayed by car problems on May 13. In an effort to prevent this situation from arising again, an individual is learning to start harness races. After becoming qualified, he or she can then replace the starter if necessary.
The commission also approved a request from the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association to pay $100 to the owners of all horses entered and not scratched on that evening at Scioto Downs. The payments help cover costs associated with preparations to race.
A day earlier, Northfield Park also cancelled races, but in this case eight were lost following a severe thunderstorm. Owners of horses entered and not scratched from those races will also receive $100 after another OHHA request was approved.
Northfield Park was also approved as the state's settlement and collection agent for the year beginning July 1, 2014. The agent collects and disburses fees from racetracks in this state and other jurisdictions that charge Ohio racetracks offering wagering on simulcast races.
Northfield Park was also on the agenda to update the commission on efforts to reach an escrow agreement by mid-June on the percentage of VLT revenues set aside for purses. Track president Tom Aldrich and OHHA President Steve McCoy were expected to discuss that and other issues following the meeting.
If Northfield Park does not have a signed agreement by the deadline, the commission has the option of promulgating a rule establishing the payment percentages.
The same is true for Miami Valley Gaming and Racing. General Manager Jim Simms is expected to meet next with McCoy on May 27.
A planned discussion of administrative rules, harness and Thoroughbred, was postponed. Each year the commission is required to examine 20 percent of its rules and update or delete rules that require attention.
Chairman Robert K. Schmitz said he wanted to give racetrack managements and horsemen's representatives additional time to provide input.
This discussion can be expected to take place at the next monthly meeting on June 26. It will be held at the Riffe Center in Columbus and begin at 10 a.m. (OSRC)