05/13/2016 10:13AM

Breakdowns lead to Belterra Park track resurfacing

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Racing at Belterra Park in Cincinnati is not expected to resume until next Thursday because of a track resurfacing project agreed to by horsemen and management following several fatal breakdowns last weekend.

Dave Basler, the executive director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said that material for the resurfacing was expected to arrive at the track Friday morning. After being mixed, the material will begin to be laid over the track Saturday morning, Basler said, provided the weather cooperates.

The resurfacing project is expected to take three days, Basler said, and the track likely will be closed for any traffic during that time. Belterra runs Thursdays through Sundays, so if the project is completed on Monday, as expected, the track will resume live racing May 19.

Horsemen and management met Thursday to discuss the condition of the track because of the injuries on the Sunday card. Officials had previously walked the course and taken soil samples at several locations on the track, Basler said, and had found that the track material had compacted due to recent heavy rain in the area and a high silt content.

“All that rain and having to seal the track all the time created a really compacted surface that is too hard to break up,” Basler said.

Kevin Kaufman, the general manager of Belterra, did not return a phone call.

Belterra, which opened in 2014, began its 2016 meeting on April 29. The track, owned by a casino company that is bound by law to use casino revenue to subsidize purses, replaced River Downs in the Cincinnati market.

Last Sunday, Belterra canceled the final four races on its card after three horses broke down in the span of two races. Two of the horses broke down in the same race in separate incidents.

Marilyn More than 1 year ago
I totally agree with Tim.  Belterra Park and its management do not have a clue about horse racing.  They have managed to turn what had always been a good, and sometimes great, experience(old River Downs) into a disaster.  All they are is money hungry.  They have the gall to charge $5 for a seat during live racing when you can't even see the track from your seat.  It is no wonder so many Cincinnati area folks go to Turfway, Miami Valley or even Indiana Grand instead of Belterra.  Don
Tim More than 1 year ago
Very unfortunate that it's several of the horses that have to suffer the consequences for the completely clueless and ill-conceived mess that replaced River Downs. With a grandstand that resembles a prison yard more than anything else and provides one of the worst race track atmospheres I've ever experienced (I'd rather spend and afternoon at Barrington or Northampton Three County Fair), the new place ought to be bulldozed and started over from the ground up, or just left to sprout weeds until someone who knows what horse racing is supposed to be like takes over...
Steve Burns More than 1 year ago
If the racing doesn't thrill you at least you have the entertainment factor of an announcer who calls the races from the video board which is on a delay. The crowd already knows the results and the announcer is still yelling like something exciting is happening.
Steve Wilson More than 1 year ago
Steve, me and my friends have decided that the race caller was just handed his job.  There is simply no way Belterra held auditions for the position and this guy was the best.  Whats worse is the powers that be don't think a change is necessary.
Steve Burns More than 1 year ago
You're right. The guy is a laughingstock and the management doesn't care. Keep the slots running!!
Matt Ehlerding More than 1 year ago
I'll still remember attending the first week they opened.  Before one of the races, a gate loader let a horse get loose.  A starter on horseback goes after the loose horse.  The starter tries to get the loose horse and falls off of their horse into the mud in the process.  Now two horses are loose.  It takes about 20 minutes to corral the two horses.  It has only been downhill from there.
Frank More than 1 year ago
This is why HR will never attract new fans no matter what.  

People today have many gambling options unlike many years ago when the sport was at its peak -- they dont want to see animals being sacrificed anymore for our gambling pleasures...
gamblerdrew More than 1 year ago
this Is what happens when companies who only care about slots buy racetracks. RD was always a track for 3rd or 4th tier racing but the old management made an effort to maintain a fair and safe racing surface. The turf course was considered one of the best in the country., The horror stories I have heard about the dirt and turf courses from trainers make it certain I will never attend or make a bet on the track I once loved.