03/14/2014 12:05PM

Colonial Downs, Virginia horsemen far apart on 2014 dates agreement

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The Virginia Racing Commission on Monday will ask the state’s racing constituents to once again discuss their plans for racing dates in 2014 after a negotiating session failed to resolve stark differences between Colonial Downs and the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Officials of Colonial, the horsemen’s group, and the racing commission participated in a mediating session Wednesday that ended acrimoniously with “both sides farther apart than when they started,” according to Bernie Hettel, executive director of the racing commission. The mediator, a former federal judge, left the session after an hour when he concluded that he could not help to bridge the gap, according to Hettel and Frank Petramalo Jr., executive director of the Virginia HBPA.

Horsemen have asked Colonial to run at least 28 dates over a seven-week period. Although Colonial over the past several months has indicated it would be open to running approximately half that number of dates, it offered to run only six dates at the mediating session, the officials said, while offering average purses of $500,000 a day.

The dispute has resulted in the blackout of Thoroughbred signals at four of the eight offtrack betting facilities owned and operated in Virginia by Colonial. The other four have closed. Horsemen have said that Colonial cannot offer wagering on Thoroughbred simulcasts without a live-racing agreement for 2014. Colonial’s account-wagering operation continues to accept bets on Thoroughbred races.

Colonial typically runs a short meet over the summer when tracks in Maryland are closed. The track is renowned for its turf course.

Alice Haraden 11 months ago
April 15, 2014. It is basically over. Close the track and the OTBs and the money will flow in (to the State and others) from the Account Betting with less overhead. It may be sad, but what did we expect when they put the track in the middle of nowhere and have done little to promote racing in Virginia? I doubt the facility even stays open (for rodeos and such); they will probably gut it and tear it down next year (early 2015) and begin to develop the property in other ways. Virginia has a rich history and tradition of horse racing, but many good things come to an end. New Kent County (idiots who haven't worked hard enough to try influence the parties to get together) loses out as real redevelopment of the site may be many years off. I will miss the July 4 event; one of the best days at the track and great fireworks too 9and we loved Virginia Derby day as any great horses competed at CD over the years).
Alan Harlow More than 1 year ago
Having the off site Col. Downs in Webber City, Va gave the fans of racing in Sw, Va, and N, E, TN, and W, Nc. some place to go and watch and wager on racing,now with all the big pre races here and the doors shut they are losing money big time and lets be real-money is what makes this sport go round.If they dont want to be here for the fans then get someone else that will cause i was really over them when they took out all the big tv's and shut down half of the off site.Its bad when the local Mose lodge has better accomadations than a place that cant get it togather long enought to make it work!!
sk More than 1 year ago
Colonial Downs has made VA racing joke. They are offering 6 day meeting. They are actually killing the VA racing . CL should shut down the track that's only optopns seems to be feasible.