05/02/2012 10:42AM

Nebraska HBPA agrees to sell Atokad to Winnebago tribe


The Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protetcive Association on Tuesday announced it has reached an agreement to sell Atokad Downs and also announced its plans to develop a new racetrack in southwest Lincoln to replace the Lincoln Race Course, which will close following this year’s meet.

The horsemen’s group has reached agreement with Ho-Chunk Inc., an economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, to sell the Atokad property in South Sioux City, in the extreme northeast corner of the state. Atokad is expected to close its simulcasting operations on Sept. 1. Taylor & Martin, a truck auction firm that leases the land at Atokad, has the right of first refusal on the offer until this Friday.

The proceeds of the sale of Atokad, which accounted for less than 3 percent of the total wagering on horseracing in the state in 2011, will be used in starting Phase 1 of construction of a new facility in Lincoln.

The HBPA also announced it has an agreement to purchase 110 acres of land in southwest Lincoln on which to build a new racetrack. The development’s first phase, which is expected to begin in midsummer, will be on 13 acres of land with existing water, sewer and street infrastructure that will be home to the simulcast facility. The Nebraska HBPA has received an extension from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to continue simulast operations at its current location through September 2013. Lincoln is the state’s second largest city in the state, and the track there accounted for approximately 23 percent of the state’s handle on horseracing, according to figures provided by the Nebraska State Racing Commission.

Lincoln Race Course will conduct its final live meet this year, a 29-day meet which runs May 11 through July 8. The track, formerly known as Lincoln State Fair, will then be razed, as development of a research and technology campus for the University of Nebraska continues.

Simulcast revenue from the new Lincoln facility is expected to eventually provide the funding to build a one-mile oval at the new location in Lincoln.