05/08/2014 2:34PM

Commission orders Colonial Downs to reach dates agreement


The Virginia Racing Commission on Wednesday ordered Colonial Downs to come to an agreement with horsemen on a 25-day, five-week meet for this year by May 17, even though its executive director acknowledged that the commission has few options to force a deal.

Frank Petramalo, the executive director of the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said Thursday that horsemen supported the 25-day meet and that he had drawn up a contract for Colonial Downs to sign. He said the horsemen had not yet met formally with Colonial officials, however.

“Hopefully, we will be meeting with them within the week,” Petramalo said.

Colonial officials did not respond to requests for comment by Thursday afternoon.

The 2014 meet at Colonial has been in limbo due to disagreement between the track and state horsemen on how many racing dates should be run this year, with Colonial in support of a two-week meet with six racing days. Talks between the two groups – including one session with an arbitrator and Virginia Racing Commission officials – have failed to bridge the gap.

Bernie Hettel, the executive director of the commission, said Thursday that the commission needs time to hire racing officials to regulate the meet, requiring the May 17 deadline. He said the commission could revoke Colonial’s license to run a harness meet this year, suspend the license, or issue a fine of up to $100,000 as penalties for not running a Thoroughbred meet, but he said “all those options are distasteful.”

Colonial typically runs in the summer, when tracks in Maryland are dark. Most of the track’s races are held on its turf course.

sk More than 1 year ago
Both side of Mgmt behaved like headless chicken. They must open all OTBS immediately. Fans have to drive Cherston , WV 4 + hrs to bet. I am skipping peakness as it's long way drive
Ashley Gwin More than 1 year ago
Open the OTBs and then work on your silly deals. You have to open them anyway. Open them now you frickin morons!!
Susan Simpson More than 1 year ago
Where was the commission when Colonial first started pulling this crap? They were given a privilege to run racing in the state of VA and they have done nothing this year to give racing fans anything but a hard time. Keeping their OTBS open for harness is just a slap in the face of fans of horse racing. They should be fined by now or better yet have their license revoked. Colonial Racetrack building is the pits to watch races. ive been to 9 tracks and this by far is the worst.
Susan Simpson More than 1 year ago
Where was the commission when all this BS was developing? Colonial should be heavly fined or FIRED for not doing a decent job in the state of VA. What they did for the Derby to racing fans was a total slap in the face.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Sad what virginia racing has become