Cloverleaf Cuts Ocean Downs Simulcasting

Published: January 5, 2009 01:15 pm EST

Stan Bergstein, in his Harness Tracks of America Daily Newsletter, has reported that a dispute over closure of the Ocean Downs stable area has created a major problem at the Maryland track.

The report states that Cloverleaf SOA, using its Interstate Horseracing Act powers, has refused to allow simulcasting and shut it down.

Bill Fasy, Ocean Downs’ chief operating officer, was quoted as saying the action “basically is closing down the business.” The track, facing heavy economic pressure in the current worldwide downturn, told horsemen it needed to close its stable area and would do so August 31, giving horsemen eight months to make other arrangements. The horsemen refused and pulled the simulcasting plug. Ocean Downs, in return, closed its track to training immediately; a move the horsemen claim would put some trainers out of business permanently.

Fasy was quoted by as saying closing of the backstretch has been considered and discussed since owner Bill Rickman took over Ocean Downs nine years ago, and was necessary now because the $100-a-horse stall rent it receives is not enough to recover losses on operation.

Fasy said, “The racetrack is losing more money than it ever has, and the economic downturn is a major factor. There are some open items that with the downturn of the economic status of the racetrack in the past three months we wanted some concessions on.”

(With files from HTA)



The company has been losing money for several years. So the horsemen haven't kept the place running. Instead, Ocean Downs has supported the horsemen by giving them places to stay. I think Mr. Rickman has done enough by giving them 8 months advance notice.

Stupid is what stupid does. What will the horsemen say if this shuts Ocean Downs permanently? I can understand if this was a sudden decision; they were given eight months notice.

Ocean Downs is about to start getting the track ready for the arrival of slot machines by the end of this year and now after nine years they can't afford winter training ? Yet they want the huge windfall that slots will bring in MD. Allowing this small concession to the people who are keeping them in the running for slots should be the least Mr Rickman and Ocean Downs can do. To get the slots they needed a racetrack in Maryland and have been lobbying for them the whole time they have owned the track . Now they want Marylanders hard earned money and want to boot the horseman. Thanks Mr Rickman , you don't deserve slots for this move.

Good for the Maryland horsemen. Don't let the tracks start closing the barn areas in your country like they did in Canada. It srarted in Windsor. No complaints from horsemen so the next track to close the barn area was London. Then Georgian Downs and Grand River were allowed to build their new tracks with no barn areas. Then the geniuses at Flamboro clased their MONEY-MAKING backstretch. They later fired the brainiac who conceived that plan but too late! These closings just off-loaded stabling costs from the racetracks to the owners. Fight it tooth and nail or there soon won't be any stalls at any track anywhere.It's good that Ocean Downs horsemen could shut off the simulcast spigot. Prediction: they'll open the barn area again because they want the simulcast revenue. Too bad Ontario horsemen didn't have the same leverage when greedy track owners decided on-track stabling was no longer THEIR business expense.

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.