03/30/2009 11:00PM

Ohio Derby canceled for 2009


The Ohio Derby, a Grade 2, $300,000 race at Thistledown, will not be run this year, the track announced Tuesday.

"For the 2009 season, we agreed with the Thistledown horsemen to suspend the Ohio Derby for one year," said Brent Reitz, vice president and general manager of Thistledown, which is owned by Magna Entertainment Corp. "It's a decision that will help secure a solid purse structure and maintain a good, full season of racing opportunities to benefit the horseman who will race with us the entire season."

Thistledown has a 122-day meet scheduled for 2009, from April 30 to Oct. 31.

"We have proposed not running it in the past, but Magna was more receptive this year than in other years," said Dave Basler, executive director of the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

The Ohio Derby had been run annually since 1952.

Thistledown will still run 16 stakes, all for Ohio-breds, including the 23rd running of the Best of Ohio program on Oct. 3. The Ohio Derby had been the only open stakes at Thistledown.