Horses evacuated from River Downs due to flooding threat

Flooding in March at River Downs (Source: River Downs)
Flooding in March at River Downs (Source: River Downs)

River Downs racetrack in Cincinnati has closed its backstretch due to predicted flood levels that are expected to cover the racing surface, parts of the stable area and cut off access to the track for several days.

River Downs opened their backstretch area for horses last weekend and horses were training over the main track since Tuesday. Approximately 500 horses were on the grounds and plans are to have all horses vacated by 6:00 p.m. on Friday.

"At Ohio River levels of 55.5 feet we know what to expect," stated Kevin Kaufman General Manager of the track.  "Luckily we've had a dress rehearsal when we reached that level in Mid-March so all departments are prepared."

"We actually have to turn off our electricity and our water which means there would be none for the horsemen that live back here and the horses that are stabled here," racetrack spokesperson John Engelhardt shared.

Turfway Park and Beulah Park are accommodating the horses until the flood waters recede.

The River Downs RaceBook expects to be open during the day on Friday. No date has been set for the re-opening of the backstretch or the main track for training and live racing.

River Downs had a scheduled opening day for live racing of April 29.

"River Downs has a reputation for being an excellent surface to train and race on," said Kaufman.  "Our first concern is for the safety of the horses and horsemen and we will let Mother Nature run her course. When this is over we'll need some sunny days. The main track will open when it is 100% ready.  Hopefully sooner than later."

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