Virginia Racing Commission Awards Breeders Fund Contract, Approves Dates

The Virginia Racing Commission on Wednesday awarded the Virginia Thoroughbred Association the contract to administer the Virginia Breeders fund in 2014, pending review and approval of the 2014 budget.

“I think the Commission is looking to have more input on the monies spent by the VTA to promote the fund and Thoroughbred Industry,” said VTA Executive Director Debbie Easter. “We look forward to working closer with the Commission on these sorts of issues because it’s important that all the stakes holders are on the same page if we are to grow Virginia’s Thoroughbred industry.”

Each year a portion of Virginia’s Breeders Fund is set aside for administration and promotion of the Fund and the thoroughbred industry. The Commission pays the VTA $190,000 to administer and promote the fund, of which over half goes to promotional programs.

“The unfortunate reality is that there is not enough promotional money to fund all the good programs we would like to. We would love to look at ways to partner the dollars we manage with others so that we are able to get more bang for our promotional buck,” Easter said.

The Commission also approved the race calendar for 2014, which mirrors 2013’s race day schedule of 25 days over five weeks. The Colonial Downs proposal requested 12 days of racing over four weekends, while the VHBPA asked for 32 days, with live racing four days a week for a span of eight weeks. Chairman Siegel repeatedly asked that Colonial Downs and the VHBPA bring race dates to the Commission for approval by the December 11th meeting, but the two sides were unable to come to a resolution prior to the meeting. Although the dates were approved, the Chairman left the door open for changes if the two parties could negotiate something that is acceptable to both groups.

In other actions, the Commission approved the racing dates for Virginia Gold Cup. The steeplechase meet will be run on May 3 and October 25, 2014. ADW licenses were approved for EX Horseplay, TVG, Xpressbet and Twin Spires. Standardbred race days for the fall were also approved.