Equine Fatalities, Cobalt Among Topics At Recent Ohio Racing Commission Meeting

by | 06.24.2015 | 1:18pm

The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) held its monthly meeting on June 23, 2015 at 77 South High Street, 31st Floor, East B, Columbus, Ohio at 10 am.

A quartet of requests by the Delaware County Agricultural Society was unanimously approved by the OSRC, including: conducting future win wagering on the 2015 Little Brown Jug program; simulcasting of all 2015 Little Brown Jug week races; requiring all horses entered in the Jug and Jugette to be on the grounds by 11 am two days prior to each race; and the implementation of the “preference rule” for all overnight races.

“The future win wagering has been very popular at Delaware in the past,” said Phil Terry, Delaware County Fair marketing manager. “It's not a huge wagering event, but it's a strong promotional tool.

In other actions, the OSRC approved a request by Belterra Park to move their live Quarter Horse meeting from Aug. 8 to Oct. 11, 2015, and listened to negotiation updates between horsemen, Belterra Park and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway regarding VLT percentages.

HPBA Executive Director Dave Basler told the OSRC that thoroughbred horsemen would  lose between “$20 to $25 million over the next ten years” in purse revenue if they agreed to numbers lower than what was agreed to contractually with ThistleDown and Mahoning Valley racetracks.

“We are close to an agreement,” Basler admitted. “We need to see what is included in the capital spend and get a rule in place.  If we can get a good number in place, we will live with it.”

As well, the Ohio Harness Horsemen Association (OHHA) representatives informed the OSRC that the Standardbred horsemen have not yet come to an agreement with Dayton Raceway.

“We are not in a stalemate over any particular issue but over a variety of issues,” said Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director.

“I think in the near future we will have a face-to-face meeting over these issues,” said Mark Loewe, Vice President of Ohio Racing Operations for Penn National Gaming. “We don't need OSRC intervention but at this juncture, we will need legal representation to be present.”

William Crawford, OSRC Executive Director, presented the number of equine fatalities due to catastrophic breakdowns (training & racing), which occurred at Ohio racetracks in May and since the beginning of 2015 to the commission members.

“We've had six Standardbred (three at Northfield, two at Miami Valley and one at Scioto Downs), and ten Thoroughbred (6 at Mahoning Valley, 2 at ThistleDown and 2 at Belterra) deaths since the beginning of the year,” Crawford stated. “Those numbers also reflect six in May 2015—four Thoroughbreds and two Standardbreds.”

Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian, presented an update on the joint Cobalt study with The Ohio State University.

“We're in the final preparations for the pilot study which will determine the effects of IV Cobalt on equine athletes,” Dr. Robertson said. “The proposal still has to be approved, but we hope this will be forthcoming and that we will be able to begin this study by early July.”

Via an invitation by the OSRC, Steve Bateson, OHHA Vice President and Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director both agreed to participate in educating Ohio harness drivers on the “Use of the Whip” rule (3769-17-17). This rule—which outlines where a whip may be used on a horses' body; types of whips; and the force a driver can deliver when utilizing a whip in a race—passed through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on June 22 and becomes effective July 19.

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