11/25/2014 11:25AM

Mahoning Valley handles $508,189 on opening day

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The first program in the history of Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown, Ohio, went off without a hitch Monday, with all-sources handle reported at $508,189 for an eight-race card.

The winner of the first race in track history was Baby Time, a 7-year-old gelding who returned $6.40 as the favorite in a field of 12 after finishing a mile and 70 yards in 1:49.52 over a fast track. Luis Colon was aboard for trainer Hugh McMahon.

The connections of Baby Time, who was claimed from the race for $4,000 by owner Billy Hays, were presented with a commemorative blanket as the first winner. All eight winners on the day received carrots and a bouquet of roses. The card was preceded by a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included numerous local dignitaries, including Robert K. Schmitz, chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission.

John McGary, race-caller and spokesman for the new track near Youngstown, said $63,503 was wagered ontrack on live racing on a windy, overcast afternoon. Attendance is not officially counted, although officials gave an estimate of 1,500.

Mahoning Valley is a racino with a one-mile, dirt-only track and more than 1,000 permanent seats encased in two stories for race viewing. The section of the racino with video lottery terminals opened Sept. 17. Penn National Gaming spent roughly $250 million to open Mahoning Valley, which replaces Beulah Park on the Ohio circuit.

For the corresponding date last year, Beulah, with its signal far more familiar in the simulcast market, attracted an all-sources handle of $824,256.

Mahoning Valley will run 85 dates through April 25 on a mostly four-day-a-week basis. About 700 of the nearly 1,000 stalls in the stable area are currently filled, according to racing secretary Ed Vomacka. Purses are scheduled to average about $65,000 per program, with an upward adjustment expected.

Justin Glagola More than 1 year ago
The Mahoning Valley track, what a DUMP! There is no good place to watch the races outside for one, they have private parties right in front of the self betting terminals so it makes it impossible to bet. No seating upstairs to be able to watch the races. Only 3 tellers to bet at downstairs with 1,000 people trying to play the races. The races themselves are garbage, I was there on opening day and they ran maiden special weight race in 1 minute 17 seconds and 4/5, for 6 furlongs, what a joke. Horses in Texas run a faster time for 61/2 furlongs and I'd say Texas has some of the worst racing in the country. No winner circle and horribly made paddock and the best part of the new Ohio track is they say they will have full fields but then they only had SEVEN gate crew workers in 12 horse races. I almost saw a Jockey die on opening day because of a horse acting up at the gate and not having enough gate crew their the horse almost sat right on top of the jock!!!! I was there opening day and people this place is a JOKE and DUMP and I didn't even mention the HIGH TAKE OUT RATE! I hope MR. Marty McGee reblogs this post.
Ron Ruchtie More than 1 year ago
The upstairs Simulcast area had 6 tellers on opening day. No one was shut out as many patrons bet very early before the upcoming race. I believe the attendance was closer to 2500. With room for 1000 indoors, it was indeed crowded. Takeout is 18% for WPS. 15% for Pick 3's and 4's. The track is deep and safe, as well as a 30MPH headwind in the stretch explains the slow times. The gate crew is thin, applications are on the website for more info.
Mark More than 1 year ago
I'm sure things will pick up as soon as people realize Mahoning Valley isn't a harness track.If I'm not mistaken, I believe that every TB/harness track in Ohio (except for Thistledown and Northfield), has been given a new name in the past couple of years.
Bill Hubbell More than 1 year ago
No winners circle??? Unbelievable!
Bruce Alexander More than 1 year ago
handle was down 300,000.00 from last years card at Beulah. doesn't matter we have a money makin casino great for horse racing
Russell Rieckenberg More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing many people are waiting to see how the track plays before betting.
Joseph Rotell More than 1 year ago
nice track, good size fields, easy to get to, and the food was good to. great job penn national