Racing Commission orders Colonial to Sign Contract with VHBPA by July 1

At today’s Virginia Racing Commission meeting, the commissioners unanimously ordered Colonial Downs to enter a contract with the VHBPA by July 1 for a 2015 race meet of 8 weeks/24 days, including opening the backside for stabling and training. If Colonial signs an agreement the commission will rescind its outstanding December order requiring the track to run 5 weeks/25 days in 2014. Otherwise Colonial Downs faces proceedings to revoke its license if track management refuses to run 5 weeks of thoroughbred racing this year.

Colonial Downs attorney Jim Weinberg asserted that the Virginia Racing Commission does not have the authority to dictate the terms of a contract. VHBPA Executive Director Frank Petramalo disagreed, pointing out that commissioners are not dictating the terms of a contract, but rather providing conditions under which its order of a 5-week/25-day 2014 race meet might be revoked.

Colonial Downs did not contest the 5 week/25 day order when it was issued last December.

Rather than sign the agreement, it is possible that Colonial Downs may appeal today’s commission order to the circuit court in Richmond. Colonial has previously threatened to surrender its license to conduct racing in Virginia rather than run the commission-mandated 5-week/25-day meet.

The VTA will update you as circumstances change.