07/02/2014 10:11AM

Colonial Downs granted stay in dates dispute

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The Virginia Racing Commission has granted a stay to Colonial Downs to comply with an order to reach an agreement with horsemen while the track seeks the opinion of a circuit court on the commission’s authority to enforce the order, the commission’s executive director said Wednesday.

The commission granted the stay after Colonial officials said they had filed a suit in Richmond Circuit Court asking the court to determine whether the commission was within its power to require the track to accept one of two options for live racing, according to Bernie Hettel, the executive director of the commission.

“It’s proper legal procedure” to grant the stay, Hettel said. “If a court says we can’t do it, then we will comply with the court order.”

Last week, the commission said Colonial must accept one of two options by July 1: cancel its 2014 live race meeting and reopen its offtrack betting parlors for the remainder of the year while agreeing to an eight-week, 24-day meet in 2015; or race for 25 days in 2014, a schedule that the commission approved late last year despite Colonial’s objections.

Colonial closed four of its eight OTBs and quit offering Thoroughbred simulcasts at the remaining OTBs in February, citing state law that requires a live-racing agreement with the state’s horsemen to offer betting on Thoroughbred simulcasts. The track and the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association have been unable to reach a live-racing agreement for 2014 despite the intercession of mediators and government officials.

Colonial has pressed the horsemen to accept a two-week race meet with six days of racing, while horsemen have held fast to an eight-week schedule with at least 24 dates. Because of the inability of the two sides to come to an agreement, it is highly unlikely that racing will the held at the track this year.

CONSTANTINE More than 1 year ago
The entire situation is a huge farce. For starters the Vrc keeps setting deadlines and then does nothing when they are not met. For years Jacobs complained that he was losing a fortune running a live harness meet. In this he is correct as the track has more employees during the meet than customers. The Vrc demamanded that he continue with the meet. The horsemen know that live racing costs Jacobs money but keep wanting an unreasonable number of dates and for the longest time were not willing to compromise. Jacobs just wants to completely eliminate live racing and keeps pushing unreasonable demands for racing on a hit and miss basis. It is just a smokescreen to keep the OTB's open without having to pay any purse money. So in effect you have both the owner and the horsement unwilling to compromise and an incompetent government agency unwilling or unable to do anything about it.
Steven More than 1 year ago
too bad they had an initial attempt at a 123.com contest last yr. that needed a 2nd chance
. More than 1 year ago
screw that place!! I have not been back since I went to their off-track while visiting my sister. Had a off-duty cop working there tell me to turn off the tiny TV. He was in uniform and wearing his Big gun. so what am i going to do? say "cool out bro".... of course I turn it off. Wow what a place to enjoy yourself. Guys with guns walking around ORDERING you to turn off TV's in a commanding voice. I'm thinking "1 Adam 12 1 Adam 12 see the off track facility". Getting frogged marched out of there by 4 cops because I turned on a $120 TV to watch a race.
michael More than 1 year ago
Virginia racing opened with great promise 1997. What a shamefor racing. Also for horse players, they had some great exacta prices in their short history.