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Ohio commission awards 2014 race dates

November 21, 2013
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At the monthly meeting of the Ohio State Racing Commission on Thursday, live racing dates for 2014 at three of the seven commercial racetracks in the state were approved.
 
Live days at two other racetracks, Thistledown and the new Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, were awarded in October. The Dayton harness track will replace Raceway Park in Toledo.
 
Lebanon Raceway, also moving to a new location, won approval of its submission. The racetrack will open, for simulcasting initially, as Miami Valley Gaming and Racing this December. Sixty-six live dates are scheduled next year beginning Feb. 7.
 
River Downs is not moving from its Cincinnati location but will be closed for simulcasting for 90 days beginning on Feb. 1. When construction now underway is finished, it will re-open as Belterra Park. The commission approved 100 Thoroughbred and two Quarter Horse days beginning on May 8.
 
Racing will conclude there on Oct. 19, approximately six weeks later than in recent years. This change will allow Belterra Park to possibly host the $750,000 Best of Ohio races for the first time in many years. The commission may decide the 2014 host at the next meeting.
 
Northfield Park, scheduled to begin video lottery terminal wagering on Dec. 18, was approved for 213 live days beginning on Jan. 1.
 
Overall, the commission has awarded 559 days in 2014 at the five tracks. Starting and ending dates for those racetracks are:
 
Racetrack--Starting/Ending Dates--Live Days
Belterra Park (Thoroughbred)--May 3–Nov. 16--102
Thistledown (Thoroughbred)--April 18–Nov. 16--122
Miami Valley Gaming and Racing (Harness)--February 7–May 4--66
Northfield Park (Harness)--Jan. 1–Dec. 30--213
Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway (Harness)--Oct. 3–Dec. 27--56
 
One track awaiting commission approval for dates next year is Scioto Downs, currently in negotiations with the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association over the number of dates.
 
The Ohio Revised Code, in this instance, mandates Scioto Down race live on 100 days if it is unable to reach an agreement with the representative of harness horsemen statewide.
 
Beulah Park -- it will become Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course -- is the other racetrack without approved 2014 racing dates. The commission announced it will not consider this date application until an issue related to the number of stalls that will be built at Mahoning Valley is resolved.
 
Citing budget constraints, Penn National Gaming currently plans to build 760 stalls. The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the representative of Thoroughbred horsemen in the state, would like the minimum number of stalls increased to 1,000.
 
Each application will be revisited when the commission meets at the Riffe Center in Columbus on Dec. 19. The commission may also consider agreements -- if reached between horsemen and track managements at Scioto Downs and Thistledown -- on the percentage of video lottery terminal proceeds that will be used for purses.
 
If agreements are not reached, the Ohio Revised Code requires the commission to determine this percentage. The minimum is nine percent. The maximum is 11 percent. (Ohio State Racing Commission)
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