Idaho Racing Commission president Dennis Jackson appeared before the House State Affairs Committee on Monday for a routine hearing about the commission’s re-writing of its rulebook.
Before Jackson left the meeting, however, Rep. Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett, asked him about the most pressing issue in the horse-racing community: the fate of Les Bois Park.
“The farther we go into the year, the more concern I have. We have no agreement,” Jackson said.
Ada County awarded Idaho Entertainment — a group owned by California-based Oneida Capital and Connecticut-based Plainfield Racing — a lease for the Garden City racing facility last summer. The group plans to rename the park, Idaho Downs at Idaho Expo.
But Idaho Entertainment has been unable to reach a needed agreement with the Idaho Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association.
The groups remain “very far apart,” Jackson said.
The optimistic Jackson said he believes there will be racing in 2010, though it will be a limited schedule.
“If we do it will be a conservatively shorter meet, maybe 15-20 dates,” he said. “That’s my hope.”
Jackson told the Statesman after the meeting that he expects at least two pieces of horse racing-related legislation this year. A bill to allow fewer racing dates at high-revenue parks and a bill to allow simulcasting at venues without live racing.