09/15/2004 11:00PM

Beulah: Full fields for meet opener


Full fields await fans as Beulah Park begins its 67-day fall meeting Saturday afternoon.

Beulah Park, in Grove City, Ohio, is unable to compete with the slots-inflated purses offered in several neighboring states. Mountaineer Park in West Virginia, for example, offers purses two to three times larger than Beulah in comparable classes, while Hoosier Park in Indiana has a bottom purse of $7,000 compared with $4,100 at Beulah.

But the lower purse levels do not deter horsemen from running at Beulah, Ohio's oldest track.

The fall meeting has been among the best in the nation in terms of average field size over the past several years. Last fall, Beulah averaged nearly 10 starters per race for the meeting. If the opening day program is any indication, large fields will once again be the rule this year as 77 horses are entered on the seven-race live card.

Beulah will once again race under the 7 & 7 alternating race format with Thistledown on Thursdays through Sundays. Beulah will race alone on Tuesday afternoons during the meet, which runs through Dec. 21.

Perry Ouzts, a fixture at Ohio tracks for more than 25 years, and Ivan Gonzalez, the leading rider at Beulah's 2004 spring meeting, figure to be among those in the hunt for leading rider.

Jake Radosevich, who has dominated the trainer standings over the last several years, should be tough to topple this fall.

First post will be 1:15 p.m. Eastern until Oct. 31, when it will shift to 12:25 p.m. through the remainder of the meeting.