You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Harness racing starting at racino

Harness racing begins today at the racino in Warren County, a move that will result in 40 more jobs at the Miami Valley Gaming complex and that is expected to attract as many as 1,000 horses, trainers, veterinarians and other horsemen from as far as Illinois and New York.

Miami Valley Gaming officials said the company has spent roughly $25 million on the track, grandstand, paddock and other buildings, furniture, fixtures and equipment purchased for the harness racing and simulcast operations. About 75 workers were involved in the project just east of Interstate 75, according to the Peter Sellers, director of construction for Delaware North Companies.

Miami Valley Gaming is a joint venture formed by Delaware North and Churchill Downs.

The live racing season, set to start at 6:30 pm on the all-weather 5/8-mile track, is the latest sign of the resurgence of the horse racing industry in Ohio. As recently as a decade ago, the industry credited supported 2,500 jobs and generated $1 billion a year in revenues in the state, said Jerry Knappenberger, general manager for the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association.

“There’s optimism in Ohio,” said Terry Deters, an Ohio native who returned this week for the racing season from Pompano Beach, Fla. and plans to stable 10 horses at the Warren County Fairgrounds, employ two or three workers, and live in Springboro. “The competition will be keen, but it offers a chance to race for a solid purse structure.”

Temperatures today are predicted to range from 9 to 16 degrees, well within the comfort zone of standardbreds, used to racing in 0 degree temperatures and wind chills as low as -15, said Gregg Keidel, racing secretary at Miami Valley Gaming.

On opening night, the top purse will be about $10,000, half going to the winning horse, up from about $4,000 before the racing was moved from Lebanon Raceway, Keidel said. The base purse also more than doubled to $3,000. There are 11 races scheduled.

“Purses and the quality of horses bring the gamblers to the windows,” said Roy Burns, a trainer in Union County, north of Springfield, as well as a director of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA).

The prospect of winning fatter purses — subsidized through 9 percent to 11 percent of the net win on video slot machines at the racinos — has prompted a tripling of breeding of the standardbred horses used in harness racing in Ohio, from 688 in 2010 to more than 2,200 last year, according to industry data. Breeders are paid $1,000-$6,000 per breeding session.

Officials trace the turnaround to the expansion of legalized gambling in Ohio in 2012, that allows for racinos and casinos, also to offer games like roulette and blackjack.

Miami Valley Gaming’s two-month season will offer 66 days of harness racing, 14 more than last year, before the operation was moved out to the 120-acre site at Ohio 63 and Union Road. There will be 56 racing days at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, also 14 more than last year were held at Raceway Park in Toledo. The Dayton racino is expected to open in September. Racing is expected to begin in October.

There are no overnight stables at the Warren County racino, so competitors will have to transport the horses to and from the track. That means additional expenses for feed, hay and agricultural products, as well as gasoline, restaurants and lodging beyond Miami Valley Gaming’s investment.

“All those horses have to eat. They have to be cared for,” said Keidel, who also will serve as racing secretary for Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

FRESH IDEAS: The jolt of love and wanting

From The Hedgehog Review: “To love is to be jolted out of the self by the strangeness of another person, and the beloved entrances precisely because of his unutterable difference — the most basic and insuperable absence. He is absent even when he is present because he is other, situated outside of myself: ‘But isn’t desire always...
TODAY’S MODERATOR: Is there a driver shortage?

More mail on the recent news that the state is considering legislation to boost the number of commercial truckers. This came in from reader Michael Huff, who says, in part: ”With regard to the so-called trucker shortage, a lot of owner/operators and small carriers would disagree. I own a small (less than 10 trucks) carrier and our thought is...
GUEST COLUMN: Cleaning out the closet of life

Sorting through a childhood closet is not for the sentimental-hearted. It can leave you at a standstill surrounded by tokens of memories chronicling the life of a family. Where do you even begin to let go? Our two sons shared a room always. Over the last 28 years, their common closet has accrued grade-school book reports, sports trophies, chess sets...
South Charleston man accused of punching police officer after fight
South Charleston man accused of punching police officer after fight

A South Charleston man has been accused of punching a Springfield officer who broke up a large fight Monday evening. Trey Michael Smith, 18, of South Charleston, appeared in Clark County Municipal Court on Tuesday on assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest and obstructing official business charges. He pleaded not guilty and his bond was set at...
COMMENTARY: Can Democrats save Trump from himself?

After President Donald Trump’s first legislative battle, a deplorably stingy attempt to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, went down without a vote in the House, I wondered: What happened to all of the “winning”? “We are gonna win, win, win,” Trump had promised at a National Rifle Association...
More Stories