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Decision on horse racing schedule for 2015 Sonoma County Fair delayed

  • 7/27/2013: C1:

    PC: The horse are off and running at the Sonoma County Fair for Wine Country Racing, Friday July 26, 2013 in Santa Rosa. This is the seventh race. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

State officials have postponed a decision on whether to shift the 2015 horse racing schedule at the Sonoma County fairgrounds later in the summer, a move that fair officials say would cost the organization hundreds of thousands in expected revenue.

The state Horse Racing Board had been set to consider the change at a meeting on Friday, but on Thursday the board delayed the matter until March 21.

Sonoma County's state legislators had been pushing for the delay while they line up opposition to the date change. Groups in the horse racing industry are also opposed.

State Horse Racing Board member Steve Beneto has been pressing for the change, saying it will allow for horse racing during all three weeks of the State Fair, which overlaps Sonoma County's fair dates by a week in July. Sonoma County fair officials want the three weeks of horse racing they usually get to run concurrent with the fair. They say that pushing the fair dates later in the summer to coincide with Beneto's proposed dates is out of the question since it would push the final week of the fair past the opening of several major school districts.

The Horse Racing Board rejected a schedule change for the 2014 season in December, but Beneto has renewed his proposal for 2015.


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