08/28/2007 12:00AM

Thistledown seeks dates cut


Thistledown has applied to the Ohio Racing Commission for 91 racing days in 2008, far fewer dates than the track will race this year. Thistledown, owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., has cut its dates dramatically in each of the last two years. After racing 187 days in 2005, the track shortened its meet to 156 days in 2006 and then to 136 this year.

This year's Thistledown meet began April 14 and will continue through Nov. 27. They have requested a 2008 meet from April 1 to Sept. 1, with one additional racing day in October.

On Monday, Magna officials met with board members of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association at Thistledown to discuss the issue. The horsemen's board is scheduled to meet with its membership on Friday.

"We need to be profitable." said Thistledown's general manager, Brent Reitz. "We believe that 91 days affords us the best opportunity to accomplish this.

"We realize and fully understand that horsemen want to run more, but our expenses tell us that we can't keep the barn area open as long as we have in the past."