05/13/2016 10:13AM

Breakdowns lead to Belterra Park track resurfacing


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.