NEW DIRECTIVE ISSUED BY OHIO RACING COMMISSION
Bill Crawford, Executive Director of the Ohio State Racing Commission issued a new directive today (March 31, 2020) to the H.B.P.A. and General Managers/Racing Directors of the state’s Racinos stating:
You are hereby directed:
1. Horse racing is cancelled at your facility through April 30,2020;
2. If your backside (including dormitories) is open, it SHALL remain open and operational until further notice;
3. If your track is available for training, it SHALL remain open for reasonable equine exercise until further notice
The intent of this directive:
1. Prevent horse abuse/abandonment;
2. Allow for consolidated feed operations;
3. Prevent homelessness for those who temporarily/seasonally reside on the backside;
4. Provide adequate exercise for horses on property needed to prevent injury potentially caused by confinement
It is incumbent on the horsemen organizations in the State of Ohio and the racing permit holders operating as Racinos in the State of Ohio to submit a 30-day and a 60-day plan to comply with this directive (including financials) to the Ohio State Racing Commission (Commission) not later than midnight April 2, 2020.
The Commission considers themselves a partner with horsemen and permit holders in reaching a solution to the issues and stand ready to assist the parties in compromise.
You should take all reasonable measures possible to continue social distancing practices.
The Commission will continue to update you as pertinent information becomes available.
Thank you for your patience as we all deal with this unprecedented and very fluid situation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 614-466-2758.
If you need further information on COVID-19, please visit, coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-427-5634
OHIO RACING ON HOLD FOR NOW
3/30/2020 According to racing officials at the Ohio Racing Commission and Mahoning Valley, plans for a return to live racing continue to be on hold. Horses are training at Mahoning Valley, though there are now mixed signals on when the horses need to be off the grounds. Horsemen were to be able to remain at the track until they could make the transition to Thistledown and Belterra Park on April 12 or 14. According to horsemen they are seeing signs posted that state that Penn Gaming now wants to close the barn area on April 7.
The letter from Chad Davis, the Security and Surveillance Manager for Hollywood Gaming stated, “Our entire backstretch will be closing on 4/7/2020 at midnight. This means the barns, track and dormitory areas must be vacated no later than April 7, 2020.”
H.B.P.A. Executive Director Dave Basler believes his organization can remedy the matter and is working diligently with the tracks. “Most likely we will stay at Mahoning until a transition to Thistledown and those costs will be passed on to the H.B.P.A. We are not so sure of the situation at Belterra and trust they will honor our contract. The Racing Commission is helping us work with our track partners.”
The Polytrack surface at Turfway Park is being removed by Churchill Downs and replaced with a Tapeta surface after April 12. Horsemen are allowed on the grounds until the 14th according to a trainer there who races on the Ohio circuit. The usual trend is for about 50% of the horses at Turfway is to move to Belterra Park. According to a high ranking H.B.P.A. representative, “We believe the Ohio Racing Commission has our back 100% in this matter and are working diligently with the entities to clear the way for our horses to have a stabling and training for their health and eventually the continued health of the industry.”