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Les Bois Park simulcasting dark as operating lease changes hands

January 24, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

by Phyllis Tryon

An agreement to transfer the operating lease for Les Bois Park in Boise from Lariat Productions to Capitol Racing was signed between the two parties in January, but since the Western Idaho Fairgrounds where the track exists is owned by Ada County, the Ada County Commission must carry out the process of due diligence on the new operator before agreeing to the transfer.

Once the county commissioners agree to the transfer, the Idaho Racing Commission must grant a license to Capitol Racing to operate a live race meet and simulcasting before operations can be up and running at the City of Trees oval.

In the meantime, simulcasting has been dark at the track since January 1, a concern for the entire Idaho racing industry, as revenues generated from simulcasting contribute to purse funds across the state.

Melinda Nothern, communications liaison for the county commissioners, said in mid-January that the county had received a copy of the signed agreement between Lariat Productions and Capitol Racing and had begun the process of due diligence regarding the transfer of the lease of the facility.

“I can’t speculate as to how long that process will take,” Nothern said. “We also need to be receiving documents from Capitol Racing as well.”

“We’re anticipating Capitol Racing is going to give us more information in order to continue and complete the process,” she said.

Lariat Productions has operated live and simulcast racing at Les Bois Park since 2002 and struggled through a number of issues during the 2004 season while trying to keep operations up and running at the track.

This past spring, Ada County Commissioners revoked Lariat Productions’ liquor license for violations of that license and demanded Lariat pay delinquent bills. In December, the county commission requested that Ada County Court consider whether or not the terms of the lease agreement between Lariat and the county had been violated.

Capitol Racing has operated a successful harness racing meet at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California for about 10 years. Alan Horowitz is General Manager of that entity and has made several trips to Boise to negotiate the agreement with Lariat Productions. He met with county commissioners on December 10 to present information on behalf of Capitol Racing as a new buyer of the Boise track lease.

Live race dates for Les Bois Park have already been approved for the 2005 season for 47 days from May 4 through August 14.