Columbus, OH -–- The Ohio State Racing Commission tabled almost all items on the agenda during its meeting at the Riffe Center in Columbus on Wednesday (April 24).
These actions were taken because most related to the need for Penn National Gaming to grant River Downs permission to conduct live racing at Beulah Park before racing can begin on May 19, as proposed by River Downs.
For example, approval of the Ohio Thoroughbred Race Fund program for this year had to wait because nine of the stakes are scheduled during the River Downs race meeting.
Steve Snyder, representing Penn National, said the company has reached a signed agreement to allow River Downs to use Beulah Park. However, the contract contains contingencies that must be met before Penn National will allow River Downs to use the Grove City Thoroughbred racetrack: The Ohio HBPA must formally agree to a 75-day live racing schedule at the proposed track in Austintown during 2014, and accept backstretch accommodations for licensees and horses that can be completed within Penn National’s construction budget.
Snyder made another presentation about Penn National’s proposed relocations of Beulah Park and Raceway Park to Dayton. While he did not announce the construction of any additional seating above the current number, he said Penn National has developed plans to increase seating at each racetrack if the amount of business justifies this course of action.
In addition to the possible consideration of live Thoroughbred dates for River Downs, the commission may also consider increasing the cost of collection and testing currently paid for by horsemen at the next meeting, according to Chairman Robert K. Schmitz. Horsemen are now charged $45 per race. Testing costs currently average $152 per race.
The next meeting is scheduled on May 1. It will be held in Room 1932 at the Riffe Center in Columbus located at 77 S. High St. It will begin at 9 a.m.