With the hope of milder weather, Horsemen’s Park will once again hold its live meet next year in May and June.
The Nebraska Racing Commission approved the state’s 2019 live race dates at a meeting Monday in Lincoln. There will be 58 days of live thoroughbred racing at five racetracks, including nine days at the Omaha facility.
For the second straight year, Horsemen’s Park will conduct its live meet around the Triple Crown races. Horsemen’s Park will race six days in May and three in June, finishing on the day of the Belmont Stakes.
“We feel that’s our sweet spot,’’ Horsemen’s Park General Manager Mike Newlin said. “We felt everything was great about our racing last year, except for the weather.’’
Newlin said only one of last year’s nine racing days could have been considered pleasant. The temperature barely reached 60 the first three days and then record heat followed, with temperatures soaring past 100 degrees.
“We really feel those dates make the most sense for us,’’ Newlin said. “We were cursed with terrible weather but hopefully next year it will be a lot nicer.’’
The state racing circuit will begin with Grand Island’s Fonner Park, which will race 31 days from Feb. 22 to May 4. Horsemen’s Park will hold its first live day of racing May 11 — the Saturday between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness — and finish on June 8.
Columbus will race 14 days from Aug. 2 to Sept. 2, and Lincoln Race Course will run three days in September. Construction of a seven-furlong racetrack is under way at the Lincoln facility.
South Sioux City will hold one live race day to complete the thoroughbred circuit. Hastings also will run one day of quarter horse racing to bring the total number of race days to 59.
The proposed race dates were approved unanimously by the five-member commission.
“That part of the meeting went quickly,’’ chairman Dennis Lee said. “Each track pretty much will race the same dates as this year.’’
In other commission business, Fonner Park requested the installation of historical racing machines. After a presentation by AmTote — Fonner’s pari-mutuel wagering company — the machines were approved unanimously.
“They meet the statutory definition of pari-mutuel wagering,’’ Lee said. “The machines are in use at other tracks around the country.’’
They are produced by PariMax, an AmTote innovation. The company’s website says the machines have generated more than $4 billion in mutuel handle for the racing industry.
Lee said he didn’t know how many machines Fonner planned to implement or when they might be operational.
A Kentucky circuit court judge ruled last week that the machines were legal in that state and did not violate gambling laws.
“It’s creating a new wager within the scope of pari-mutuel wagering,’’ Lee said.
The 2019 live race dates:
Fonner Park, Grand Island: 31 days, Feb. 22-May 4. Horsemen’s Park, Omaha: 9 days (May 11, 17, 18, 25, 26, 31; June 1, 7, 8). Columbus: 14 days, Aug. 2-Sept. 2. Lincoln Race Course: 3 days (in September, to be determined). South Sioux City: 1 day (to be determined). Hastings: 1 day (quarter horse racing, to be determined).
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July 1: Air Force's Nic Ready hit a total of 55 home runs, including 21 in the final round, to edge Clemson's Logan Davidson in the College Home Run Derby.
June 28: Oregon State celebrates beating Arkansas 5-0 in Game 3 of the CWS championship series. The Beavers were down to their last out in Game 2 before a fielding blunder by the Razorbacks gave Oregon State a second life, which it took advantage of en route to the program's third CWS title.
June 18: John Olson, and Mary Olson, of Joslyn, Missouri, take cover under ponchos during a rain delay at the College World Series. Weather provided a huge problem in the 2018 CWS.
June 15: Cam'ron Jones checks out Omaha.com, or perhaps Snapchat, during the Huskers' Friday Night Lights camp.
May 19: Fremont's Lucas Arps celebrates after winning the Class A 400-meter dash.
May 19: Lincoln Lutheran's Josie Puelz celebrates after clearing 12-2 in the Class C girls pole vault final.
May 17: Omaha Roncalli's Thomas Alitz cheers after scoring the winning run in the Class B state championship on a hit by Logan McGill with two outs in the seventh inning.
May 17: Omaha Creighton Prep's Eric Allbery, right, jumps on the dogpile as the Junior Jays celebrate their Class A state baseball title.
May 16: South Sioux City celebrates after defeating Elkhorn South in the Class B state soccer championship.
May 16: Kearney's Christian Dakan hoists the Class A state soccer trophy alongside his teammates.
May 14: Millard North celebrates its Class A state championship win against Omaha Marian by kissing the trophy.
May 14: Elkhorn celebrates its Class B championship win against Omaha Skutt.
May 9: Creighton's Will Robertson celebrates with Jack Strunc, left, after homering the fifth inning. The Jays beat UNO 10-6.
May 6: The Omaha Storm Chasers play below the newly dedicated Steve Pivovar Press Box at Werner Park.
April 21: Nebraska coach Scott Frost leads the Huskers during the Tunnel Walk on Saturday.
April 19: Awardee Dante Pettis and former Nebraska football player Johnny Rodgers, right, pictured during the Jet Award dinner.
April 19: Former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne attends the Jet Award dinner.
April 18: UNO's Malik Moore pitches against Nebraska. The Mavericks knocked off the Huskers for the first time since 1997.
April 11: Creighton's Will Robertson, left, and Thomas Luevano celebrate scoring on a triple by Jack Strunc.
April 11: Elkhorn South's Mo Gohr gains control of the ball in the Metro Conference tournament.
April 3: Scott Frost directs Husker football practice.
March 31: The boy campers pose for a photo at the Athletes' Training Center Futures Camp at Iowa West Field House.
March 27: Creighton defeats Nebraska 3-1 in the first matchup of the year.
March 25: Kansas' Malik Newman drives to the basket, drawing a blocking foul on Duke's Wendell Carter. The Jayhawks went on to defeat the Blue Devils in Omaha and advance to the Final Four.
March 17: Creighton defeats Iowa in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
March 17: Creighton's bench cheers as Michael Emodi hits a walk-off homer off Wichita State pitcher Chandler Sanburn in the Jays' home opener.
March 12: The Creighton women's basketball team celebrates making the NCAA tournament.
March 10: Wahoo celebrates winning the Class C-1 boys basketball title.
March 10: Nebraska City Lourdes' Quinten Vasa, center, holds up the trophy with his team.
March 9: Glenwood celebrates after winning its first boys basktball state title in school history.
March 3: Scotus' Maggie Feehan celebrates after winning the Class C-1 title.
March 3: Superior celebrates a Class C-2 championship win over Ravenna.
Feb. 25: Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night. The Huskers went on to defeat Penn State.
Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night.
Feb. 24: Creighton's Marcus Foster, left, and Davion Mintz celebrate Creighton's 89-83 overtime victory over Villanova.
Feb. 24: Omaha Creighton Prep's Colin LaFave competes in the 100 fly at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 24: Lincoln Southwest's Anna Heinrich, left, and Josie Ford celebrate their first and second-place finishes in the 50 free at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 17: Kearney’s Phillip Moomey is in the top 20 of his weight class in two national polls. Only a handful of underclassmen are ranked ahead of him.
Feb. 17: Omaha Burke's Jakason Burks does a backflip after defeating Millard South's Caleb Coyle during the 106-pound Class A final at the state wrestling championships.
Jan. 28: Omaha Lancers coach and General Manager David Wilkie talks with players during first-period action.
Jan. 26: UNO's Luke Nogard skates past the referee.
Jan. 16: Nebraska's Nicea Eliely gets excited during pregame introductions as the Huskers went on to beat Iowa.
Nebraska's James Palmer celebrates a home victory over Illinois with Isaiah Roby.
Jan. 9: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, left, talks with former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne during the Outland Trophy banquet.
Jan. 4: Omaha Burke's Shereef Mitchell brings the ball up court in the Metro holiday tournament.
Jan. 1: In his final game with Central Florida, now-Nebraska coach Scott Frost raises the Peach Bowl title after defeating Auburn.