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DO NOT sign the petition that the ODTHA and Colonial Downs is spreading! The “Old Dominion Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association” is Colonial Downs’ made up group that they incorporated to sign a contract with themselves! Colonial Downs has been in the news media lying to the public about their contract dispute with the current horsemen’s group known as the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association or VHBPA. Colonial Downs has been playing the victim in the contract dispute claiming the horsemen won’t sign a contract which shuts down their thoroughbred simulcast operation. Virginia does not allow wagering on horse racing without a significant amount of live race days. Colonial Downs would love to eliminate live racing and only operate off track wagering parlors. Live racing cost them money and cuts into their profits so it’s understandable why a betting parlor operation would not want to fund live racing if they were allowed to accept wagers without it. If there was no live racing, then there would be no racing to bet on and many people lose jobs who are on the racing side of the industry. Colonial Downs is also not telling you that they are very profitable with their online wagering business. They conveniently leave that out of the discussions when they claim to be losing money.

Colonial Downs wanted to sign a contract for 6 days of racing and that was unacceptable to Virginia horsemen. Then Colonial Downs said they were willing to host 17 days of racing with 3 days of stakes races, but would not open the backside for stabling and training. How is that going to work when a lot of their horses come to stable and train from Florida and Maryland? What they are also not telling you is that they want most of the purse money to be designated to the 3 days of racing that does not stay in our local economy. This leaves little money left to spread over the 17 days of racing that most of us rely on.

What people may not realize is that there are many people who breed, raise and train horses to race in Virginia and without a race track, their business is crippled. This trickles down to the farmers who grow oats, hay and straw. The feed stores lose as well because there are less horses to feed. The blacksmith who puts shoes on the horses loses work. The tack shop that supplies bridles, supplements, medications and saddles is losing. The local veterinarians lose clients. The person who makes a living transporting the horses is now out of work. There are so many people involved in the thoroughbred horse racing industry that will be out of work if Colonial Downs fails to keep there promise to the Virginia horsemen.

“The Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (VHBPA) is a non-profit membership organization that represents thoroughbred owners and trainers who race at Colonial Downs. The VHBPA negotiates with the management and ownership of Colonial for race days, dates, and purses, and also provides educational, recreational, health, counseling, and religious programs for back stretch workers.” – http://VHBPA.org     

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