11/17/2005 1:00AM

Ohio trims dates for 2006


The Ohio Racing Commission issued 2006 racing dates for the state's three Thoroughbred tracks on Thursday, reducing the live racing schedule by nearly 60 days next year.

The commission brokered a compromise agreed upon by all seven of the state's tracks - three Thoroughbred and four harness - as well as the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association to reduce the number of racing dates next year in an attempt to increase average daily purses and field sizes.

Thistledown takes the biggest cut in dates, going from 187 this year to 156 in 2006. Thistledown will race from April 14 to Nov. 27, with the majority of the lost dates coming with the removal of December from the racing calendar at the Cleveland-area track.

River Downs will go from 119 Thoroughbred dates this year to 103 next year. The track will run its traditional meeting from April 14 to Sept. 4 but will cut back to five days per week instead of six for the majority of the meet.

Beulah Park will cut the fewest dates, going from 135 in 2005 to 123 next year. Beulah's spring meet will run from Jan. 7 to May 7. The reduced dates will come during the fall meeting, which will begin several weeks later than normal on Oct. 6 and run through Dec. 22.