10/20/2004 11:00PM

Some accord over Ohio dates

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Racetracks and horsemen in Ohio tentatively agreed to cut racing dates in the state next year by 10 percent, but the final approval of the plan has been delayed as Thoroughbred horsemen hammer out a separate agreement with tracks to guarantee purse levels for cheaper races.

The schedule, advocated by Scott Borgemenke, the chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission, in order to boost overnight purses, would pare the racing schedules at River Downs and Thistledown by 18.6 percent and 17.6 percent, respectively. Beulah Park would have its schedule reduced by 5.6 percent.

The schedule will take effect as long as all seven racetracks in the state, including four Standardbred tracks, and the state's two horsemen's groups approve it. So far, all parties except the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have indicated they would sign the agreement, according to Borgemenke.

Dan Theno, the executive director of the horsemen's group, said Thursday that horsemen were hoping to guarantee purses for low-level claimers.