10/11/2008 12:00AM

Uncertainty greets fall meet

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Beulah Park ushers in its 85th season Tuesday under a cloud of uncertainty regarding the future of racing in central Ohio. Beulah is currently locked in negotiations with the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group, which represents local horsemen, over account wagering revenue splits.

Negotiations were ongoing Saturday, but the horsemen's group had not yet granted Beulah the permission it needs to send its fall meet simulcast signal out of state. Because of the account wagering stalemate, Beulah has not requested any Thoroughbred racing dates for 2009.

"I really don't want to talk about the ramifications right now," Mike Weiss, general manager of Beulah Park, said of the fall meet simulcast situation. "It would involve dramatic purse cuts and would be terrible for everyone."

As for the chances of Beulah racing next year, it is all up in the air right now.

"I really can't talk about 2009 right now," Weiss said, "but without being too negative, I am not overly optimistic."

Live racing during the 48-day fall meet will be conducted five days a week, with Sundays and Thursdays dark. Beulah will alternate its races with Thistledown in a 7&7 format the first two weekends, Oct. 17-18 and 24-25. Beulah will race solo the rest of the meet, with a first post of 12:55 p.m. There is a special first post of 11:30 a.m on opening day as 14 races will be run, eight Quarter Horse trials and six Thoroughbred races.

New to Beulah this year is a Keno room. Keno is an Ohio Lottery game, where new numbers are drawn every four minutes.

"We have an area off the cafeteria where we installed a bunch of new TVs and made it a sports area, where you can watch games and play Keno," Weiss said.

The stakes schedule begins Oct. 18 with the $50,000 Scarlet and Gray for Ohio-bred fillies and mares and ends with the $15,000 Samuel Handicap for horses that have raced at the fall meet on closing day, Dec. 20. Four additional stakes worth $50,000 each are sandwiched in between for Ohio-accredited horses.