At the monthly meeting of the Ohio State Racing Commission in Columbus on Thursday, Feb. 27, four resolutions were approved.
Resolution 2014-04 authorizes the executive director to approve certain items without further ratification by the commission required. This authorization, also granted to the executive director in 2013, expires at the end of this year.
Resolution 2014-05 provides the chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission authorization to execute any agreement necessary to result in escrow agreements with Video Lottery Terminal Sales Agents under the provisions of Section 3769.087 of the Ohio Revised Code. The section contains language requiring that nine to 11 percent of VLT revenue be used to benefit racing and breeding in the state.
Resolution 2014-06 authorizes the commission chairman to execute a joint written direction causing $585,000 from an escrow account at Scioto Downs to be deposited in the commission's operating account. The commission will distribute $500,000 of this amount to the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Health and Retirement Fund. The remainder will be paid to the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Health Insurance Trust.
The last resolution (2014-07) acknowledges the adoption of administrative rule 3769-5-66 and requires the commission staff to file the rule with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review on March 17. The rule relates to the Ohio Thoroughbred Race Fund, adding requirements for broodmare owners.
In a report to the commission Jim Simms, general manager at Miami Valley Gaming and Racing, provided background related to the cancellation on the Feb. 7 opening night of live racing and an assessment of the first three weeks of the racing season. He said a power interruption outside of the property caused the cancellation.
Chairman Schmitz applauded the racing surface at the track based upon conversations with drivers and trainers, but questioned Simms about conditions in the paddock.
Simms said it was not constructed to be an all-season paddock, but heating from portable units has been added and shortcomings in the delivery of water have been fixed.
Chairman Schmitz asked Simms to provide the commission with progress reports on paddock improvements.
Mark Loewe, representing Penn National Gaming, and Dave Basler, representing the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, provided the commission with a positive progress report. The parties are in agreement on the construction of 988 stalls at the Mahoning Valley Race Course. This is one facet of a contract expected to be signed shortly.
The same is true of another agreement, one between the HBPA and Thistledown on the payment of VLT proceeds. Other items are also included.
The signing of an agreement by Scioto Downs and the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association on the payment of VLT proceeds was also announced.
In decisions made by the commission related to other permit holders, live racing was approved to begin at Thistledown on April 18, Miami Valley may count the cancellation on Feb. 7 as a live racing day, and the Beulah Park request to count racing programs on Feb. 18 and 19 as live days was tabled until the next meeting of the commission in Columbus, at the Riffe Center, on March 20.
Just prior to adjournment, Chairman Schmitz announced that Commissioner B.J. Roach has submitted his resignation and will be missed. Roach is moving to Florida. (OSRC)