12/14/2012 4:32PM

Ohio commission approves Thistledown, Beulah Park dates

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The Ohio State Racing Commission on Thursday approved 88 Thoroughbred dates at Beulah Park and 122 dates for Thistledown, leaving unresolved the question of whether Beulah would run additional summer dates to make up for the temporary closure of River Downs.

Beulah was approved for two meetings, one from Jan. 9-May 4 and the other from Nov. 18-Dec. 22. The request was well short of the 114 dates that Beulah is required by statute to run, but horsemen have tentatively agreed to the reduced schedule, according to Dave Basler, executive director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Thistledown was approved for 122 dates, from April 19-Nov. 17.

According to Basler, negotiations remain ongoing between the owners of Beulah Park and River Downs on the possibility of running some of River’s traditional dates at Beulah during the summer of 2013. River, which is being torn down in order to rebuild a new track and casino, usually runs approximately 80 dates from the late spring to the fall. Thoroughbred tracks in Ohio generally lose money, so the negotiations likely center on who will be responsible for operating losses at Beulah should they occur.

All three tracks in Ohio are owned by casino companies: Beulah by Penn National Gaming Inc.; River Downs by Pinnacle Entertainment; and Thistledown by Rock Ohio Caesars.

Due to inaccurate information from the state racing commission, an earlier version of this article misstated the dates approved for Beulah and Thistledown.