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May 16, 2014

Colonial Downs looking to form new horsemen's group


New Kent, VA ( - Negotiations have been suspended between Colonial Downs Racetrack and the Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (VHBPA) to implement a 25-day thoroughbred racing season this year.

On Dec. 11 the Virginia Racing Commission awarded 25 days of thoroughbred racing over five weeks for 2014 at Colonial Downs. The track offered a pair of proposals to the horsemen which they rejected.

Due to the horsemen's rejection, wagering on thoroughbred racing in Virginia's off-track wagering facilities was stopped as of Feb. 4. The track has been seeking VHBPA reimbursement for revenues lost during the current shutdown of thoroughbred wagering.

"In light of the damage done by the VHBPA's decision to shut down wagering," Jeffrey P. Jacobs, owner of Colonial Downs, said in a statement. "Colonial Downs is unable to bring about a high-end meet this fall. This high-end meet is the future of Virginia thoroughbred racing if it is to thrive."

The track is now offering a loan if a new horsemen's association is formed.

"Colonial Downs' shares the Virginia Racing Commission's desire to maintain live thoroughbred racing this year," Jacobs continued, "and is prepared to make a $2 million interest-free loan to a new, to-be-formed horsemen group. This loan will facilitate 25 days of thoroughbred races with one day devoted to the Virginia Derby and other nationally graded stakes races."

The VHBPA has been seeking an eight week thoroughbred racing season with 30 race days. The group, as stated on its website, will accept the Racing Commission's compromise of seven weeks of racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The harness meet scheduled for September and October is unaffected.

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