Ohio Racing Economic Impact Survey

The Ohio HBPA and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association are jointly funding an Ohio Racing Economic Impact Study. As part of that study information is being gathered from Ohio racing industry participants through an Ohio Racing Economic Impact Survey.

We ask that you click the link below and take 5 to 10 minutes required to fill out the survey to help the Ohio HBPA insure the successful future of Ohio racing.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OHRacingImpact

Mahoning Valley Schedules Make Up Days

Mahoning Valley in cooperation with the Ohio HBPA has scheduled five make up dates for weather and track related cancellations thus far during the 2019 winter-spring meeting.

Make up days will be help on Friday, March 15th and Friday. March 29th. The meet which was scheduled to end on Saturday April 20th will now be extended with racing dates added on Monday, April 22nd through Wednesday, April 24th.

Two Scholarship Opportunities Available for Sons or Daughters of OHBPA Member

Two scholarships are being offered to the sons or daughters of current Ohio HBPA members in 2019.

The scholarships are for a total of $7,000 and begin at $1,600 in the first year then increase yearly to $1,700, $1,800 and finally $1,900 in the fourth and final year. The application process and awarding of the scholarships is being handled by College Now Greater Cleveland Inc.

These scholarships are offered to the dependents of any Ohio HBPA member which includes both owners and trainers. To be eligible the recipient must be between the ages of 18 and 25 and must either be a high school senior in 2019 or currently enrolled as a college undergraduate at an accredited, not for profit, higher educational institution.

Other eligibility requirements include a minimum 2.5 grade point average (whether a high school senior or college undergraduate) and must be a full time student (minimum of 12 credit hours per semester) if a college undergraduate.

Below is the link where the application for the scholarships can be found.

https://app.smarterselect.com/programs/56850-College-Now-Greater-Cleveland

The deadline to apply for these scholarships is May 24, 2019.

Mahoning Valley Ends 2018 With Double Digit Handle Increase

Mahoning Valley Racecourse concluded its Fall Meet and 2018 calendar season this past Saturday and did so with yet another annual increase in wagering. Since its launch in 2014, the young racetrack in Austintown, Ohio, has seen handle increases each calendar year since opening its doors. All told, wagering volume on the Mahoning product for 2018 increased 10.6% compared to the prior year.

“We are extremely proud to announce yet another increase in handle and both the state of Ohio and Ohio horsemen should also take pride in this accomplishment,” said Vice President of Racing Mark Loewe. “It’s incredibly exciting to see our team, from Racing Secretary Ed Vomacka, his racing office crew, valets, gate crew, and all operate at such a high level year after year. It takes a team effort and we have one heck of a team.”

For the Fall Meet, jockey Luis M. Quinones captured his first riding title at Mahoning Valley, piloting 31 of his 189 mounts to the winner’s circle. Quinones also finished third nationally in 2018 with 281 wins.
“He’s such a hard worker,” said Quinones’ agent Billy Johnson. “He’s out there every morning working hard. He drives from track to track without complaint. I don’t know how he does it, but his work ethic and obvious talent make it a pleasure to work with him.”

While Quinones notched his first riding title, it was more business as usual in the trainer’s standings as Jeff Radosevich collected yet another training title. For the Ohio-based Radosevich, there’s little better than winning another training title on his longtime stomping grounds.

“I have great owners. Obviously, I couldn’t have done any of this without their continued and unwavering support. I love Ohio. Mahoning Valley gives me an opportunity to race year-round from my home. Thank you Mahoning Valley!”
Mahoning Valley held its signature event – the $250,000 Steel Valley Sprint – on November 19 and the marquee race of the meet didn’t disappoint as Trigger Warning won an epic stretch duel with Bobby’s Wicked One. Trained by Mike Rone, Trigger Warning was put on the lead early under Irwin Rosendo and then engaged in a fierce battle with the runner-up from the top of the stretch to the wire and was made the winner after Tyler Gaffalione’s claim of foul was not allowed. In the $75,000 Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Distaff on the Steel Valley Sprint undercard, the gray mare Puntsville was able to hold off a late charge from Lake Ponchatrain to score her 13th victory in 25 career outings.

While she did not take part in any of the unrestricted stakes Mahoning offered during the Fall Meet, Leona’s Reward was tabbed the horse of the meet after dominating Ohio-breds in her three starts in restricted stakes events. Trained by Tim Hamm, Leona’s Reqard romped by eight-lengths over Ohio-bred fillies and mares in the Ohio Debutante Handicap on November 3 and followed that up with a win against the boys in the Ruff/Kirchberg Memorial two weeks later. In her final start of the meet, the daughter of Parents’ Reward returned to face fillies and mares in the Bobbie Bricker and again cruised to a seven-length score. All told, Leona’s Reward banked a total of $135,000 during the Fall Meet for her owners Blazing Meadows Farm LLC and Michael Friedman.
2018 Mahoning Valley Fall Jockey Standings (fina
Rank
Jockey
Starts
1st
2nd
3rd
1 Luis M. Quinones
189
31
19
16
2 T. D. Houghton
163
25
24
17
3 Christian P. Pilares
122
24
15
22
4 Luis Raul Rivera
120
23
13
17
5 Luis H. Colon
60
22
7
9

2018 Mahoning Valley Fall Trainer Standings (final)
Rank
Trainer
Starts
1st
2nd
3rd
1 Jeffrey A. Radosevich
108
30
14
4
2 Robert M. Gorham
99
21
15
11
3 Gary L. Johnson
86
17
9
8
4 Jay P. Bernardini
60
13
8
10
5 Rodney Faulkner
102
12
9
8

New Board Members Elected

The Ohio HBPA Board of Directors elected owners John Royer and Dick McCall to fill the two empty owner seats on its board at its meeting held on November 15, 2018.

Royer and McCall will each serve four year terms. Dr. George Sikura was elected as an alternate in the owner only category for the next two years.

Ohio HBPA Election Results

Trainer or owner/trainer
Top three vote getters in trainer or owner/trainer category are elected to a 4 year term. Fourth place finisher is the alternate for the next two years.
Joe Poole 215 votes
Mike Rone 194
Susan Anderson 171
Mark Doering 136
Rodney Faulkner 118
Don Radcliff Jr. 72

T

Owner Only
Top vote getter in the owner only category is elected to a 4 year term. Ohio HBPA board of directors will fill the two remaining vacant owner only positions at their meeting on September 14, 2018.
Kim Williams 229 votes

Total ballots cast 347

OSRC Sets VLT Rate to be Paid to Horsemen at Belterra Park

On June 27, 2018 the Ohio State Racing Commission passed resolution 2018-05 which set the percentage of VLT revenue to be paid to horsemen at Belterra Park at 9.95% thus ending a more than three year push by the Ohio HBPA for the commission to establish the rate.

The history of the percentage of revenue horsemen receive from video lottery terminals at Ohio’s three thoroughbred and four standardbred tracks dates back much further however.

In 2011 Ohio Governor John Kasich issued a series of executive orders authorizing VLT’s at Ohio’s seven racetracks. While the executive orders spelled out the licensing fees and taxes the racino operators would pay to the state the share of the VLT revenues horsemen would receive was not spelled out.

In 2012 the Governor’s office set up a series of meetings between representatives of Ohio’s seven racetracks and the two recognized horsemen’s groups in the state under the Interstate Horseracing Act, the Ohio HBPA and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association with the purpose being to establish what percentage of VLT revenue the horsemen would receive.

Ohio HBPA executive director Dave Basler represented the thoroughbred horsemen in these meetings while OHHA president Steve McCoy represented the standardbred horsemen.

The Governor’s office in consultation with Moelis and Company, which had been hired as consultants on gaming issues by the state of Ohio, listened to arguments presented by the tracks and the horsemen and ultimately determined that the horsemen’s share of VLT percentage at each track would be based on a sliding scale based on the total investment the permit holder made on capital expenditures to improve the facility for VLT’s. The scale was such that a total of $200 million or less in horsemen would receive 11% of the net win for each additional $10 million dollars in capital expenditures the horsemen’s share would be reduced .15%. So at $210 million in capital expenditure the rate paid to horsemen would receive would be 10.85%, $220 million the rate would be 10.70% with the minimum rate that could be paid to horsemen being capped at 9.00% when capital expenditures met or exceeded $340 million for a facility. These numbers would only come in to play if there wasn’t a contractual agreement between a track and the recognized horsemen’s group which otherwise spelled out the percentage of VLT revenue to be paid to horsemen.

This proved to only be a starting point rather than a final resolution to determine the percentage of VLT thoroughbred horsemen in Ohio would receive.

After more than six months of extensive negotiations on March 7, 2014 the Ohio HBPA entered into a ten year agreement with Thistledown Racetrack LLC. which set the percentage of VLT revenue to be paid to horsemen at Thistledown at 10.6%.

On March 10, 2014 the Ohio HBPA entered into a 19-page ten year agreement with Beulah Park Gaming Ventures which set the percentage of VLT revenue to be paid to horsemen at Mahoning Valley Race Track at 10.3% for the first 24 months of the agreement and at 10.64% for the final eight years of the agreement.

Both of these contracts had “favored nations” provisions whereby the Ohio HBPA couldn’t enter into a contract with any other racino for a lower percentage of VLT revenue unless that percentage was set either by law or by rule of the Ohio State Racing Commission. The tracks insisted on these provisions as they didn’t want to be the first to sign a contract and then have other track operators use their rate as a starting point to negotiate lower rates.

Pinnacle Gaming which owns Belterra Park has insisted throughout the process that they were entitled to a lower VLT rate than the other two tracks based upon their capital expenditures. For this reason as well as the “favored nations” provisions in the previously signed VLT agreements the Ohio HBPA and Pinnacle Entertainment were unable to reach a VLT revenue sharing agreement for Belterra Park.

Unfortunately while the law said that the VLT rate must be set by the Ohio State Racing Commission if there wasn’t an agreement in place between the recognized horsemen’s organization and the permit holder within six months of the beginning of VLT operations this was far from what actually took place.

The racing commission began drafting a rule to determine the percentage of VLT revenue to be paid to horsemen in 2016. This process ended up taking well over a year to complete as both the tracks and the horsemen presented various legal arguments objecting to portions of the proposed rule language.

A series of meetings took place over the course of many months working through draft after draft with all of the interested parties before the commission officially introduced and adopted final language on rule 3769-2-43.

This rule established that the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission would verify the capital expenditures made by a permit holder necessary to build the video lottery sales agent facility which the racing commission would plug into the sliding scale chart discussed earlier which was also a part of rule 3769-2-43 to establish the VLT percentage paid to horsemen when the permit holder and horsemen’s organization couldn’t reach agreement.

Pinnacle Gaming began the process of verifying their capital expenditures to build the video lottery sales agent facility at Belterra Park with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission late in 2017 and provided that commission several thousand pages of invoices and contracts for construction and other work done at the track.

In all Pinnacle Entertainment submitted claims for $318,066,015 in expenditures. Ultimately after extensive review of all documentation the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission determined that $272,340,029 of the submitted expenses were allowable. This is the number the Ohio State Racing Commission used in setting the VLT percentage to be paid to horsemen from VLT revenue at Belterra Park at 9.95%.