10/20/2004 12:00AM

Ohio racing dates reduced

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The Ohio Racing Commission granted a reduced number of 2005 racing dates to the state's three Thoroughbred tracks at a Wednesday meeting at Beulah Park.

The reduction in dates came at the request of the commission's chairman, Scott Borgemenke. Borgemenke is seeking to increase the average purse size at Ohio's tracks with the date reductions.

The state's seven tracks - including four harness tracks - as well as the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association must all agree to any reduction in live racing dates in Ohio.

Thistledown, a Cleveland-area track owned by Magna Entertainment, would give up the most dates next year, going from 187 days this year to 154 days in 2005.

River Downs would go from 122 racing dates in 2004 to 99 next year. Beulah Park is the Thoroughbred track that would be least affected by the changes and would lose just five days next year.