Penn National has announced a change in their proposal to relocate horse racing tracks from Toledo and Columbus.
Originally Penn National proposed moving Raceway Park, a harness racing track, from Toledo to the Youngstown area and Beulah Park, a thoroughbred track, from Columbus to Dayton. The reason for the relocation is to avoid competition with the casinos.
Now Penn National has proposed moving Raceway Park to Dayton and Beulah Park to the Youngstown area. The change may be for a better fit. The Dayton site, another former Delphi plant, is about 125 acres. The Youngstown site is 186 acres. Thoroughbred tracks are typically one mile in length while harness racing tracks are one-half to five eighths of a mile (in Ohio).
The location switch could receive flak from the other tracks. Lebanon Raceway, also a harness racing track, is about 40 miles from the Dayton site.
The Ohio State Racing Commission must approve any relocation. To date, according to the commission’s chairman, no one has applied for relocation. That is probably due to the fact that Penn National is awaiting a final decision on VLTs. Eric Shippers, senior vice president for Penn National, has stated that no relocation plan has been finalized and that any relocation is dependent on the authorization of VLTs. There is still a pending lawsuit in Franklin County that challenges the constitutionality of the VLTs.