03/17/2014 3:46PM

Colonial Downs: Meeting set for March 27 over live-racing dates

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The Virginia Racing Commission scheduled a meeting for March 27 to consider live-racing dates at Colonial Downs this year after adverse weather prevented many commissioners from attending a meeting Monday at the New Kent racetrack, the executive director of the commission said after the meeting.

Despite the lack of a quorum, representatives of Colonial and of the state’s horsemen’s group, the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, each gave presentations at the meeting in support of their own notions for the length of the 2014 live meet at Colonial. A dispute between the two groups on the number of live race dates for this year’s meet has resulted in a stalemate in negotiations for a live-racing agreement and the blackout of Thoroughbred signals at the state’s off-track betting facilities.

Bernie Hettel, the executive director of the racing commission, said the presentations supported the positions staked out by the track and horsemen’s group last week during a negotiating session with a mediator. During those talks, Colonial insisted on a six-day meet with purses of $500,000 a day, while horsemen pressed for 28 days over eight weeks. The mediator left the meeting after one hour, saying the two sides were too far apart to make any progress, multiple officials said.

Hettel said the commission will continue to hold meetings with Virginia racing constituents in advance of the March 27 meeting. In December, the racing commission approved a 25-day meet for Colonial in 2014, even though Colonial did not seek approval for the dates. Hettel said it was unclear if the commission will attempt to hold Colonial to the 25-day meet.

Susan Simpson More than 1 year ago
Virginia might be for lovers but it sure isnt crap for anyone wanting to see live racing or betting on racing. When Colonial came to the state they promised racing and OTBS. Fine Colonial until this is resolved. Viginians always get the raw deal in horseracing.
sk More than 1 year ago
Thanks for update. I am not sure who is winning this battle, between CD mgmt and VHBP. I think CD mgmt is more on wrong side than horsemen. Track needs to understand they have niche in turf racing ( low- medium claimers). Hope they resolve this issue on 27th March. It has been frustrating for punters . Looks like Dubai world cup will not be available for fans in VA OTBs.