10/19/2016 6:11PM

Thistledown cancels Wednesday card after valets refuse to work

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Thistledown in North Randall, Ohio, cancelled its racing card late on Wednesday afternoon after track valets refused to work because of a contract dispute, according to a representative of riders at the track.

The track’s valets, which handle tack for the track’s riders and also assist in saddling and unsaddling duties, announced that they would not work the card 10 minutes prior to the first post at 1:40 p.m. Eastern, according to Heriberto Rivera Jr., a regional representative of the Jockeys’ Guild.

Over the next several hours, management attempted to reach arrangements with horsemen and riders to perform the valet’s duties, but those efforts were unsuccessful, Rivera said, leading the track to finally issue a cancellation of the entire card at approximately 4 p.m.

“For riders, it was an issue of safety,” Rivera said.

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The Wednesday card was the third-to-last scheduled for this year’s 2016 meet at Thistledown. Rivera said that track management indicated that they would attempt to find replacement valets to work the final two cards on Friday and Saturday if the track was not able to work out a deal on the valets’ wages.

Officials of the racetrack did not immediately return phone calls on Wednesday afternoon.

Thistledown is owned by Jack Entertainment.