09/27/2010 2:56PM

Ohio commission approves trimmed 2011 racing schedule


The Ohio Racing Commission has approved requests by three Thoroughbred racetracks for 2011 racing dates, a schedule that will offer 33 fewer race cards than in 2010 provided Ohio’s horsemen agree to the reductions.

Dave Basler, the executive director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said that discussions over the two-party agreements allowing River Downs and Thistledown to reduce their live race cards below statutory minimums are not expected to start in earnest until November, after the Ohio horsemen’s group has held elections for its officers.

“We’re hopeful we’re working toward discussions with them,” Basler said.

River Downs, in Cincinnati, received approval for 78 Thoroughbred race dates, 26 fewer than in 2010. The Ohio horsemen rejected a similar reduction last year.

Thistledown, which was purchased this year by casino giant Harrah’s Entertainment, received approval for 122 race dates, an identical schedule as last year, but one that is well below the statutory minimum of 187 dates. Horsemen agreed to a reduced live-racing schedule at the track last year.

Beulah Park, which was purchased by Penn National Gaming Inc. this year, received approval for 121 live Thoroughbred race dates, a number that coincides with the statutory minimum. Last year, Beulah ran 128 live race dates.