The Virginia Racing Commission has canceled its May 22 meeting, according to the Commission’s website.
The May 22 meeting had been scheduled in order to allow Colonial Downs and the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (VHBPA) more time to reach a final agreement on the number of live days and the format of the 2014 race meet.
On Monday, Commission chairman J. Sargeant Reynolds, Jr. told the sides, who have been at an impasse since December, “Obviously you need some more time. I was expecting to have an agreement this morning.”
Still, Monday’s meeting appeared to represent progress. “We’re closer than I thought we were this morning,” said VHBPA executive director Frank Petramalo.
Sources with knowledge of the situation have indicated that the Commission chose to cancel tomorrow’s meeting because the sides have been unable to make any subsequent progress in bridging the gap. While both sides reportedly are willing to live with a five-week meet with 25 days of live racing — for this year at least — money has been a sticking point.
Colonial Downs says it has lost $1.5 million because it was forced to close several of its off-track betting facilities. It had done so because, absent a contract between the sides, the VHBPA had prohibited Colonial from receiving Thoroughbred signals and taking wagers on Thoroughbred racing. Without Thoroughbred racing, only four of Colonial’s eight OTBs were deemed financially viable.
The horsemen dispute that number, and they point out that the purse account has also taken a hit.