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Deal Struck At Ocean Downs

Published: January 29, 2009 1:32 pm ET

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According to the >Harness Tracks of America Daily Newsletter, Ocean Downs is back in action after a three-week shutdown.

The stable area again is open to horsemen for training after Cloverleaf and the track reached a 15-year accord that is contingent on Ocean getting slots when they are assigned shortly.

Cloverleaf Owners Association president Tom Cooke said his board approved the contract in its present form and he expects his membership to approve as well.

Ocean Downs’ COO, Bill Fasy, said there had been “a sense of urgency for getting the operation back open and giving my employees a sense of ease about their jobs,” and letting horsemen get back to theirs.

The contract provides that Ocean Downs will race 40 nights a year for the next 15 years, but the backstretch will close at the end of this year. Stall rent for January and February has been waived.

Track owner William Rickman has agreed to make $800,000 in purses available, in addition to monies allocated to the horsemen by Maryland’s slots legislation, and the horsemen can put some of the money aside for retirement funds, track
insurance and death benefits.

According to a report by delmarva.com, Cloverleaf’s Cooke saying as long as Rickman gets a slots license, the contract applies for 15 years. “If he does not get one,” Cooke said, “the future of the track is in his hands.”

(HTA)


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