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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Vernon on Ice

News broke earlier today that Vernon Downs will not open their race meet as scheduled on Friday, April 21 in a dispute with the state over taxes, specifically the tax rate the casino pays.  Since the opening of the Yellow Brick Road, Lago, and Rivers casinos, Vernon Downs loses roughly $150K a month when they aren't racing.  With racing a money loser, there is no way Vernon can open their race meet if the racino is already in the red before they start.

The track says they will open once they are given assurances relief is coming, willing not to wait until the legislation is signed but if relief is not forthcoming, it may be the death knell of racing, if not for the entire racino facility.

In a possibly-related subject, there is an apparent shortage of horses already stabled on the grounds.  Were racing to begin on schedule, with the current horse population, it may be hard to get two race cards per week scheduled.  Whether it is a case of horsemen hearing rumors of a stalemate with the state and the related uncertainty surrounding the tracks viability, who knows.  After all it is rumored many trainers, who were dissatisfied with the carding of Miracle Mile races and the way other races were combined to fill fields, are not planning on returning.

Right now Vernon Downs is on ice.  If things don't improve all around, it may be going into the deep freeze.

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