08/15/2005 11:00PM

No deal on Ohio signal


River Downs removed its signal on Tuesday from AmericaTab, the account-wagering company owned by River and another Ohio track, Beulah Park, after the state horsemen's consent to send the signal expired Monday without a new agreement between tracks and horsemen.

The tracks and the leadership of the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have been unable to agree on what portion of the revenue from Ohio customers of AmericaTab and other account-wagering services should go toward purses. Track officials say that under the old agreement, purses received a total of $1 million last year from the business.

Dan Theno, the executive director of the Ohio horsemen's association, said Tuesday that the issue for horsemen revolved around AmericaTab's unwillingness to devote all wagering revenue from bets on Thoroughbred races to the Thoroughbred industry. Theno said that AmericaTab has previously split the revenue from all bets equally between the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries.

"It's not justified and it's illogical," Theno said.

Explaining River Downs's reluctance to cut off the Standardbreds, Jack Hanessian, the track's general manager, said, "We're not interested in getting into a breed war in Ohio." Hanessian said that River Downs would rescind its approval for Television Games Network to take the track's signal as of Wednesday.

Mike Weiss, the general manager of Beulah Park, said on Tuesday that an agreement between the tracks and horsemen did not seem possible. He said Beulah Park has already asked the state racing commission to allow the track to delay its 2005 meet opening from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24. The commission will rule on the request on Friday.

Weiss said that without revenue from account-wagering, Beulah would lose approximately $400,000 in purses this year.

Theno said that horsemen would oppose Beulah's request at Friday's commission meeting.

"It's unjustifiable for them to ask for a reduction of 28 days," Theno said. "The loss of AmericaTab revenues works out to a couple of days of lost purse revenue, not 28."