Ohio Thoroughbred racetracks are all owned by casino companies. Gone are the days of the old ways, and the new horizon lays just ahead. Change is good. It does have some drawbacks, but racing will survive in the Buckeye state.
Thistledown – Harrah’s
Beulah Park – Penn Gaming
River Downs – Pinnacle Entertainment
River Downs was the last to be sold, and for a sweet $45 million dollars, they will be owned by a casino giant. R.D. was born in 1925, and changed over from the old Coney Island race course. It lays right against the banks of the Ohio river, and the rolling hills of Kentucky can be beautifully seen in the background. It is picturesque, and has the perfect summertime dates. River Downs has always been a pearl that is hidden well. It does not have the purse structure of the Kentucky tracks, or at least not yet.
The purses have been modest and have accommodated the small horsemen. In time, the purses will grow, and there will be plenty of building for the future to accommodate VLT’s or slot machines. But, that will come later down the road. They are not really announcing anything as of yet, and the sale must be approved by the Racing Commission. It will be just a matter of time from here……..
Gone will be the days of operating, and hoping for that life preserver. It has come, and things will change. Horsemen will have new opportunities, and players will eventually be welcomed with a product that is comparable to many successful states. The talk has begun, and people, as usual, plan and worry for the future. None of that matters. If there was no hope of gaming, the track would have went under as many have. Racing will be saved, and that is the best of news. The rest will fall into place as business always does. Just keep an eye on that little track along the river and see what happens. I predict that racing will boom in years to come. Just give it time, and Ohio racing will be mentioned in the same breath as so many successful models. It’s official….. Change is coming.