State audit report critical of Running Aces harness track and racing commission

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 8, 2014 - 11:02 AM

The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor has found that Running Aces Harness Park failed to comply with state law regarding its purse contributions from 2008 through 2012, falling $436,865 short of the amount it was required to pay to horsemen racing at the Columbus harness track.

In a report issued Tuesday morning, the auditor also found the Minnesota Racing Commission did not adequately oversee purse payments at Running Aces.

It recommended that Running Aces make "a reasonable payment'' to make up for the shortfall. In response, Running Aces said it already has made additional payments, and the MRC said it will more closely review purse payments at both Running Aces and Canterbury Park.

The review was conducted at the request of the racing commission after a dispute arose one year ago over Running Aces' purse payments.

The track had been contributing 8.4 percent of its takeout -- the amount the track deducts from the betting pool before paying winning wagers -- to the purse fund. Some commission members believed that state law required the track to contribute 8.4 percent of the handle.

The dispute lingered for months, leading the racing commission to request the audit in December.

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