08/22/2002 12:00AM

Indianapolis track must run Thoroughbreds

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The Indiana Horse Racing Commission approved a rule Monday that will require Indianapolis Downs to run at least 20 live Thoroughbred racing dates in 2003 if the track wants to keep all of the revenue from Thoroughbred simulcasts.

Indianapolis Downs, a harness track scheduled to open next year, would have to split revenues from Thoroughbred simulcasting with Hoosier Park, a nearby track owned by Churchill Downs Inc., if it does not run the 20 Thoroughbred dates.

"Basically, what we are saying is that if they want to retain all the Thoroughbred simulcast money, they had better make a significant contribution to the Thoroughbred industry in this state," said Joe Gorajec, the executive director of the commission.

Gorajec said that commissioners also passed a rule requiring Indianapolis Downs to run either a 30-day mixed dirt-and-turf Thoroughbred meet or a 40-day dirt-only Thoroughbred meet in 2004 to keep the simulcast revenue. The initial plans for Indianapolis Downs did not include a turf course.