Thistledown’s Future Still Uncertain

by | 03.24.2013 | 9:51am

As Ohio's racetracks prepare to install VLTs, the future of Thistledown Racetrack is still uncertain. Gov. John Kasich has given the track's owner, Rock Ohio Caesars, the option of moving the operation to Akron-Canton.

Such a move would pull Thistledown away from Rock Ohio Caesars' Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland and closer to Northfield Park, which hopes to have its own racino by the end of the year. Caesars representatives believe that Horseshoe and Thistledown will compliment each other rather than cannibalize off each other's customers.

Requests for stalls at Thistledown are unhampered by the uncertainty, however, as general manager Rick Skinner says there is greater interest than he has seen in years.

Ohio trainer Tim Hamm says he doesn't anticipate concern about the move from other horsemen.

“Half a dozen of one, six of the other,” he told “We travel, we travel, we travel. Whether that place is in Cleveland or Akron, I don't think horsemen have a preference one way or the other.”

Read more at 

  • Concerned Observer

    ,Lets hope the Ohio approvers think this through and through. They only have one chance to get it right. Across the nation horse racing has been forced to live with decisions that were in hindsight very poorly considered. The dragging of feet as simucast came of age in the ’80’s, the decision to shun television in the 50’s, the lack of cooperation across state lines forever. This is a biggy for Ohio and midwest racing. I hope someone with some mental horsepower is thinking this one through on our side.

    As a starter, what major NFL football or MLB baseball team would move from Cleveland and millions of fans to Akron and thousands of fans?

    • larryburndorf

      It’s more like 390,000 vs 198,000, population wise.

      • Concerned Observer

        Metropolitan Statistical Areas 2012 Data

        Cleveland pop. 2,063,000 ( ranks #29 in USA)

        Akron pop 702,000 (ranks #77)

        Columbus pop 1,944,000 (ranks #32)

        Youngstown pop 558,000 (ranks #95)

        How can it be good for any business to move away from its customer base??????
        That is wy I hope someone with some mental horsepower is looking at the data.

  • harry

    This makes no sense. Stay where Thistledown is at present (Cleveland Market) and develop slots around current track. Concerned Observer you are so right the NFL would not move Cleveland Browns from Cleveland to Akron for sure. Penn National is proving that moving Beulah Park and rebuilding to a facility which caters to slots over horse racing is so so wrong. Ohio horse racing deserves so much better than they are receiving now. The purses are ridiculous and have to be increased dramatically for owners and trainers to make a decent living. Moving Thistledown is just a dumb idea making no sense.Yes improvements will have to be made but the reward will be so so great.

  • Richard C

    This is not about racing — it’s about VLT’s and the future expansion of gaming choices at smaller casinos marketed – at least for a few years – as racinos. The relocation of the track would be the final nail in the depressed financial coffin for the Village of North Randall…which will be the saddest story of ’em all.

Twitter Twitter
Paulick Report on Instagram