Ohio racing, like some other states, is in danger, as its seven racetracks are surrounded by racinos and casinos in Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan. Only Ohio’s bordering state of Kentucky is in the same circumstance as Ohio. Lisa Schwartz, a racehorse owner from Washington Courthouse, Ohio, has organized a “horsemen’s rally” in Columbus, the state capital, for tomorrow. Following are two announcements and two YouTube addresses that explain more.

1. I (Lisa Schwartz) would like to invite anyone and everyone to the Ohio horsemen’s rally on the South Plaza of the Statehouse this Tuesday May 19, 2009 from 10:00 am until 12:00 or 12:30 pm. This rally is for the Ohio horsemen to show their support of the Ohio State Racing Commission’s proposal to allow slot machines at the 7 Ohio race tracks and to save the Ohio horse racing industry from it’s terrible decline.

We have several senators and representatives scheduled to speak including Senator Bill Seitz who should speak around 11:30 am. We currently have 6 chartered busses bringing horsemen from our remote parking at Scioto Downs. We also have busses chartered from the Cleveland tracks, Raceway Park in Toledo and Lebanon Raceway. We have been circulating the attached flyer with details for the horsemen. We look for a great turnout and we hope you might be able to attend.

2. More from organizer Lisa Schwartz:

The rally is tomorrow and we’ve gone national AND international with our support!

We are having guests from Canada! I spoke with a couple from Quebec who have a string of thoroughbreds at River Downs and they are coming to support us. They have considered moving to Ohio in the past, when the breed fund was flourishing, but did not when it began to decline. Maybe we can change their minds!

I spoke with a woman from North Carolina this morning and she and her friends in New Jersey and Delaware are all writing letters to Governor Strickland for me to deliver. They went on at length about how the straw is better here, they buy at Big D’s, they come 4 times a year to the Blooded Horse Sale and stay in the Hyatt and eat at our restaurants and use our veterinary services. All because they make money buying horses here in Ohio (where they pay sales tax on them by the way) and they take them back out east and make thousands of dollars on them racing and subsequently selling them because the purses are better there. They all agree that this plan to allow racinos in Ohio is a win-win! She personally spent $40,000 in Ohio last year on our horses, goods and services and she’s just one person!

Speakers tomorrow include: Senator Bill Seitz, Representative Ray Pryor, Representative Terry Blair, Representative Dan Stewart, Representative Louis Blessing, Representative Ron Maag and others.

Busses that will be running the shuttle from Scioto Downs will be staging there at 8:45 AM and will pull out as filled. We’ll have someone there coordinating that effort. Tell everyone to bring their water bottle and pack a snack if they need it because we’re low on loaves and fishes.

WE CAN DO THIS! This is a perfect opportunity to get our legislators to allow expanded gambling at our tracks. We can bet on virtually every track in the country in our simulcast areas, we can bet on our live product, we can buy Ohio lottery tickets and multi-state lottery tickets at our racetracks so lets show them that we can help them and they can help us by allowing this current expansion of our industry. Get out there tomorrow! Shut down your stables, close up the paddock gate, jump in your car and save our jobs!!! YouTube addresses explaining more about the rally:

3.  Related YouTube sites:




 Ohio is losing jobs and tax revenues owing to the downturn in the economy, but especially due to the dislocations in the American automobile industry. The state’s leaders can ill afford to stand by doing nothing while another industry shrinks…and racing accounts for a lot of employment and a lot of dollars.  But, under Ohio racing’s current competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis surrounding states, it cannot hold out much longer.

Best wishes to all the horse folks who take their case to Columbus on Tuesday. Kudos to Lisa Schwartz. 

(For some additional perspective on Ohio racing’s dilemma, see the January 24, 2009, Horse Racing Business archive on this website titled “Help Wanted in Ohio…Sort of.”)

Contact Information:

Lisa Schwartz 614-778-2480

Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners 513-574-5888