Colonial starting gate. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Colonial starting gate. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

With the stakes high, the Virginia Racing Commission will meet Wednesday at the Patrick Henry Building in downtown Richmond at 10:00 a.m.

The Commission’s last scheduled meeting, in March, was canceled.

Colonial Downs did not hold a Thoroughbred race meeting in 2014, and none is currently scheduled for 2015.

Though Colonial Downs and Virginia’s horsemen continue to be at loggerheads, times in Virginia are changing.  Legislation which passed both houses of the state legislature — but which has yet to be signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe — would refashion the state’s racing business model, altering the way advance deposit wagering money is split and opening up new opportunities for horsemen and breeders, through the new Virginia Equine Alliance, to run their own short meets at locales around the state.

Colonial Downs seems likely to remove itself from racing other than as a landlord.  The company has been in negotiations with the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, with the HBPA hoping to lease the track and run a meet there.  But, sources have said, although some progress seems to have been made, no agreement has been reached.

Meanwhile, on the first Saturday in May, the Virginia Gold Cup’s annual steeplechase meet will take place, this year including three flat races.  The purses for those three races will be solid, ranging from $30,000 to $45,000; but some longtime Virginia horsemen contacted by The Racing Biz indicated little interest in participating.

It is this unsettled situation — with the sides struggling to reach accord and no substantial racing meet scheduled for 2015 — that the Commission will seek to untangle, perhaps starting with tomorrow’s meeting.

The agenda is here.