Battle continues for racing licenses

Attorneys for all sides are still reviewing the court’s decision to deny harness-race licenses.



NEW CASTLE, Pa. — It appears it’s back to the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission for two groups vying for the state’s last harness racing license.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a ruling this week upholding the earlier decision to deny a racetrack license for proposals in both Lawrence and Beaver counties.

However, the court’s decision stated that both could reapply for reconsideration by the harness racing commission.

New Castle businessman Carmen Shick, who along with his two siblings has proposed a race track and casino near the Ohio border on U.S. Route 422, said his attorneys were still studying the decision and had not advised yet how to proceed.

“Obviously we are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision. However, we are encouraged in its finding that guilt by ancestry is frowned on,” Shick said.

One of the main reasons the harness racing commission rejected the application for Shick’s Bedford Downs was alleged organized crime ties to his deceased grandfather.

Valley View Downs

Shick appealed that decision to Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and received a favorable decision, but the state harness racing commission and other potential track operator, Valley View Downs, took the matter to the state supreme court.

Valley View Downs spokesman Rick Kelly was encouraged by the supreme court decision.

Valley View, proposed for Beaver County, Pa., had been rejected because of problems with the track’s design and location.

“We are prepared to address any of the commission’s concerns regarding the easily remediable site and track design issues,” Kelly said.

Valley View Downs is owned by Centaur Inc., which recently bought full interest in Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind.

Anton Leppler, executive director of the state harness racing commission, said the commission’s attorneys were still reviewing the court decision Tuesday and the commission has not decided how it will proceed.

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