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Coney Islander

River Downs Closing?

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Coney gets a LOT of its revenue from River Downs and its patrons, and much of the expanded River Downs is on former Coney property. "Letting it close" may affect Coney Island more than you would think....nor would I necessarily expect current Coney management to buy back the land that used to be part of the park...

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Yep, at one point in time River Downs was part of Coney Island. In fact, it was originally named the "Coney Island Race Course." It opened in 1925. In 1926, ownership of the race course was reorganized, as Mr. George Schott, who was involved with Coney Island, severed all ties with the race course. In August of that same year, legal issues over peri-mutuel betting at the race course caused the closure of the race course. It would remain closed until 1933.

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And if you go across the river to Turfway Downs its 16 to bet.

No, it is not. Under Kentucky law and the race tracks own rules, you must be 18.

http://www.turfway.com/contactusfaq.asp#how%20old

The state's racing commissioners also report the minimum age as being 18. Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc., Pari-Mutuel Racing: 1996 at 59.

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Yep, at one point in time River Downs was part of Coney Island. In fact, it was originally named the "Coney Island Race Course." It opened in 1925. In 1926, ownership of the race course was reorganized, as Mr. George Schott, who was involved with Coney Island, severed all ties with the race course. In August of that same year, legal issues over peri-mutuel betting at the race course caused the closure of the race course. It would remain closed until 1933.

The 1938 Horse of the Year, Seabiscuit raced at River Downs:

http://www.spiletta.com/UTHOF/seabiscuit.html

After running out of the money in the De La Salle Handicap, Seabiscuit ran one more time in Detroit, winning the Hendrie handicap by four lengths. Then it was on to River Downs in Ohio.

Seabiscuit turned in a pair of third place efforts, closing fast both times before running out of ground, and then won the Scarsdale Handicap at Empire City in a photo finish. He was third again when he ran out of ground in the Yorktown Handicap, then went to Bay Meadows and won the Bay Bridge Handicap by five lengths. In his final start of the season, Seabiscuit led from wire to wire to win the World's Fair handicap by five lengths. Having broken two track records in a row, he had earned some time off.

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From Labor Day through the beginning of May, Riverdowns is the only venue that is open to the public. Coney Island and Riverbend Music Center are seasonal, with most of their business occurring from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Although, the season is typically stretched about a month in either direction.

All three venues help to create a "destination" for tourists in the Cincinnati area. One very interesting thing to note that with the exception of Lebo`s Bar and AJ`s Roadhouse there are no fast food establishments located near Coney. One has to head north to find more restaurants. Included in the restaurants located to the north of Coney and Riverdowns is a Skyline Chili on Beechmont Avenue just east of Salem. This Skyline often stays open to 1am and sometimes even 3am in the summer to capture traffic from Riverdowns. This Skyline is also the oldest operating Skyline in its original location, and opened in 1967 I believe (there is a sign on the door proclaiming the exact year they opened, but I`m not positive if the 1967 year is correct).

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Another interesting thing, while the River Downs grandstand may have a historic look that goes back several decades, the structure that exists was built around 1987, a steel and concrete structure, with escalators connecting the lower and upper decks.

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I visited River Downs yesterday after they closed Coney due to

a thunderstorm. After talking to several workers there, including jockey's,

nothing is planned but closure after the Craddle Stakes.

The crowds are dismal, only one consession stand was open

and only three workers at the wagering booth.

The purses are small and the quality of thoroughbreds are

at an all-time low. RD just can't compete with Indiana & West Virginia.

It's dis-heartening to see an icon as RD on it's last leg.

pilotank

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That's probably an unrealistic scenario...and Coney will be dramatically affected if River Downs does close...

esp with the land being located in the ohio river floodplain..I highly doubt any developer would be interested in buying the property if it closed.

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Its been over a year since I started this topic, and River Downs has continued to operate normally.

The place is always packed during the operating season, anyway... I guess it leads many to believe this claim has just been a publicity stunt all along.

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There are not many horse tracks out there that make many and the majority loose every year. Yes, you can put a casino there to help support it, but then the track side of the operation looses even more money. Most "racinos" wish they could close the racing side of the operation.

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River Downs was quite busy last Saturday for the Kentucky Derby. I know because I was down at Coney for training, and had to deal with the traffic when leaving Coney. For right now anyways, River Downs is still open and operating. Back in its early days, it was known as the Coney Island Race Track.

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