11/09/2005 12:00AM

Accord on Ohio cutback


Ohio racetracks and horsemen's groups have agreed to a proposal to reduce by 63 the number of live racing days for Thoroughbred racing in the state in 2006, according to the executive director of the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

The plan was approved by the horsemen's association Monday at a board meeting. The association was the last organization in the state to sign off on the proposal, which will cut the number of live Thoroughbred racing days in Ohio from 444 to 381 in an effort to increase purses, field sizes, and betting handle.

The proposal, which can be vetoed by any of the groups at the end of 2006, has been approved by seven racetracks - three Thoroughbred and four Standardbred - and the two organizations representing the Standardbred and Thoroughbred breeds in the state. Under Ohio state law, racing dates cannot fall below the levels of 1991 without agreement of horsemen of both breeds.

Under the proposal, Thistledown will run 156 live racing days in 2006, down from 187 this year; Beulah Park would run 122 days, down from 135; and River Downs would run 103 days, down from 122.

The agreement also stipulates that the horsemen's portion of revenue from simulcasting on the additional dark days in 2006 will go exclusively to the local track's horsemen. Currently, the horsemen's portions of dark-day simulcasting goes to a combined fund that is split between Standardbred and Thoroughbred purses.

The racing commission is expected to approve the plan at a meeting on Nov. 19.