08/18/2010 5:28PM

Atokad gets permission to run just one race


In a teleconference conducted Monday morning by the Nebraska State Racing Commission, Horsemen’s Atokad Downs in South Sioux City, Neb., was allowed to waive several of the commission’s rules to conduct a scaled down one-race meet next Tuesday afternoon.
To satisfy state law and remain open as a simulcast outlet, Atokad must offer one live Nebraska-bred race during the year. That race will be conducted 4 p.m. Central on Tuesday when a field limited to six Nebraska-bred horses that have not won a race in 2010 will race from a walk-up start in what will be a unique moment in racing in the state.
In years past, Atokad had conducted a weekend of three or four days of racing, but financial difficulties at the track forced a drastic change for this year. The track, located in the northeast corner of the state, 90 miles north of Omaha, has not rebounded from a terrible start to its simulcast business this year and was down more than 32 percent from last year’s numbers through June, the last monthly report available from the racing commission.
Besides waiving the rule requiring a starting gate and allowing a walk-up start, the commission also approved waiving the use of a public-address system and the use of placement judges instead of a photo-finish camera.