It looks like our horse-racing subsidy will sit in the barn for at least a year. After receiving a $120,000 state subsidy, South Dakota’s two horse-racing organizations have cancelled races for this year. The Fort Pierre Verendrye Benevolent Association called off its races March 27, the same day that Governor Kristi Noem signed their subsidy, Senate Bill 128, into law. Aberdeen’s horse racers, Northeast Area Horse Racing, Inc., pulled the plug on Hub City horse racing on Monday:
NAHR General Manager Robert “Bubby” Harr said the cancellation of races stems from his organization’s inability “to meet the recent changes of a bond requirement put in place by the South Dakota Gaming Commission.”
The Gaming Commission stated in its “Resolution Number 03-27-19-04,” decided during its March 27, 2019 meeting, that NAHR’s bond requirement for 2019 was $50,000. This bond would act as a form of insurance for the race activities.
…With the closure of both the Aberdeen and Fort Pierre tracks, 2019 marks the first year in more than six decades that no horse racing will take place in South Dakota [Dave Byrnes, “Aberdeen Not to Host Live Horse Racing in 2019,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2019.04.09].
The bonding and funding resolution passed by the Gaming Commission March 27 says that “money allocated from the South Dakota bred racing fund to a corporation which does not conduct live racing in 2019 shall be held in the fund for use in future racing seasons.” The SD bred racing fund is one of the two pots into which SB 128 placed that $120K subsidy. The allocation from the other pot, the special racing revolving fund, appears to have nowhere to go, as the Gaming Commission’s resolution designated those dole-outs for “racing operations and purses,” which will not materialize at either South Dakota track.