The Virginia Racing Commission met today in New Kent, and early reports are that there may be movement on the shape and length of the 2014 Colonial Downs meet.
Following a relatively brief meeting of the Commission, Colonial Downs personnel and horsemen’s representatives, including the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, reconvened behind closed doors, possibly with a Commission representative present, to continue negotiations, once stalled, that reportedly lurched back to life at a meeting in Florida earlier this week.
Recent negotiations had left the sides far apart, with Virginia’s horsemen seeking as much as 32 days over eight weeks, and Colonial countering with as few as six days of live racing. Though the Commission had approved, at its December meeting, a five-week, 25-day meet, the sides had not been able to reach accord.
More recently, a compromise floated by the Commission, of 21 days of live racing over a period of seven weeks, had not gained traction.
Over the last several days, the shape of a possible compromise has begun to emerge. It would entail fewer days spread over more weeks — to some extent horsemen value the weeks as much as the days, since it gives them the ability to get more starts. It might also involve splitting the meet into two shorter meets, one in the summer and one in the fall, possibly with differing purses to create a short “boutique” type meet.
More to come on this story.
— Reporting by Nick Hahn