The company that runs Boise’s horse-racing track is expected to announce today that it’s taking over management of Coeur d’Alene Greyhound Park and hopes to continue simulcasting races.
It’s not yet known what this means for live racing at the Post Falls track, which shut down Dec. 17 amid financial losses and allegations of animal cruelty.
Les Bois Park officials confirmed they are trying to work out a deal at the track, but said they aren’t buying it.
“We’re having a press conference (today) to announce how we are handling this,” said Chris Christian, chief executive officer of Les Bois.
Parks that simulcast races use large video screens so bettors can wager on races from parks around the United States. Patrons bet and receive payouts much like they would at the event.
Greyhound Park, owned by Paul Bryant Jr. and his Greene Group in Tuscaloosa, Ala., has lost more than $21 million since opening in 1988.
Les Bois Park runs 1,100 registered thoroughbreds for 47 days from May 1 to Aug. 11. The park awarded $1 million in purses last summer and drew crowds averaging 2,800 a day, said General Manager Duayne Didericksen.
Post Falls Mayor Jim Hammond said he didn’t know how many jobs would remain under the Boise management. The track previously employed 210.
“It certainly wouldn’t be the same number they had previously,” Hammond said, “but there’d certainly be some people there running concessions and taking money.”
Current management has talked about converting the track’s 2,500-seat clubhouse into a bingo hall.
Attendance at Greyhound Park has plummeted 50 percent since 1992.
The track has one of the lowest betting handles paid to gamblers and the lowest purses awarded to racing kennels in the country, the National Greyhound Association said.
Animal-welfare groups have attacked the track for years as one of the worst in the country.
Last summer, the Idaho Law Enforcement Department investigated several allegations relating to abuse and mismanagement. One trainer passed a lie-detector test about seeing a dog electrocuted by a colleague after-hours. No charges were filed, however.
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The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Ken Olsen and Bruce Krasnow Staff writers Staff writer J. Todd Foster contributed to this report.