De Francis, MTHA to meet over Va. dates

March 08, 2001|By Tom Keyser

Joe De Francis, president and CEO of the Maryland Jockey Club, said yesterday that he plans to meet with representatives of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to try to resolve the dispute over when to shut down for Colonial Downs.

The MTHA, an organization of trainers and owners, issued a news release Tuesday reiterating its opposition to ceasing racing in Maryland so that thoroughbreds can race June 9-July 14 at Colonial Downs in Virginia. The MTHA prefers to send its horses there in September, as in the past.

The Virginia officials and the MJC, which manages the racing at Colonial Downs, prefer summer dates. They have been delayed in making those dates final by a problem funding the purses. Once that is resolved, De Francis plans to contact the MTHA.

The Maryland Racing Commission will meet March 28, when it is expected to set racing dates in Maryland for the rest of the year.

"We would like to go before the racing commission with a united front," De Francis said, "rather than ask the commission to arbitrate a dispute."

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