No Settlement Reached between HBPA, CNL

Representatives from the Virginia HBPA and Colonial Downs attended a mediation session with retired federal judge Dennis Dohnal on Wednesday morning, but were unable to reach a settlement in an hour and a half session mediated by Dohnal.

The VHBPA put forth a proposal for a seven-week/28-day race meet, a compromise on their original eight-week/32-day proposal. HBPA Executive Director Frank Petramalo indicated that the horsemen’s purse account will likely have a sufficient balance to run an eight week meet with 30 days of live racing, with purses of $200,000 a day.

Colonial Downs rejected the offer and proposed to race six days in 2014, for $500,000 per diem, which the VHBPA rejected outright.

The issue will be taken up again at the Virginia Racing Commission meeting next Monday, March 17, at 10 a.m.

“We’ve received a number of inquiries asking whether there will be racing this summer at Colonial Downs,” said Petramalo in a letter to the sister HBPA chapters. “The short answer is we don’t know.”

According to Petramalo, there are some indications that Colonial Downs is attempting to set up its own horsemen’s organization to compete with the VHBPA: “Colonial’s strategy is to limit live racing to a few weeks and the rest of the year profit from its eight off track betting shops and its own ADW company. In an attempt to get its way Colonial is organizing a rival horsemen’s group to oust the Virginia HBPA as the horsemen’s representative.”

“The track, of course, thinks it can negotiate a ‘sweet heart’ deal with an in house organization that severely limits racing in Virginia,” Petramalo continued. “We’re fighting that effort but we don’t know how it is going to turn out.”

The VRC meeting on Monday will be held in the Horseman’s Building at Colonial Downs.