05/01/2013 12:05PM

Ohio commission approves River-at-Beulah meeting

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The Ohio Horse Racing Commission on Wednesday morning approved 65 days of live racing at Beulah Park to be run under the banner of River Downs, putting to rest a protracted negotiation between tracks and horsemen that threatened to cost the Ohio racing circuit a significant number of live racing dates at a time of significant uncertainty in the state.

The racing commission approved the dates after Penn National, owner of Beulah, dropped a demand that the agreement for the River dates be linked to a larger deal with horsemen over the company’s plans for Beulah in 2014, according to Dave Basler, executive director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. Penn National and the Ohio HBPA have been locked in negotiations over the 2014 Beulah meet – which will likely take place at a new racetrack near the border with Pennsylvania – for several months, stalling commission action on the River plan.

Under the standalone plan approved Wednesday, the River-at-Beulah meet will take place from May 19 to Sept. 23, for a total of 65 dates. River’s owner, the casino operator Pinnacle Gaming Inc., razed the track earlier this year to make way for a new track and casino on the same property. The new facilities are expected to open next year.