CANTER Ohio announced this week that ThistleDown Racino has donated $17,255 in gaming proceeds to the Thoroughbred charity following a successful trial opening of its new entertainment and gaming destination.
On April 2, the newly created racino, in compliance with Lottery Commission regulations, opened its doors during a “controlled demonstration” to prove its readiness to begin operations and also demonstrate its promise to “give back” to the community by giving a total of $51,000 in gaming proceeds to charity, including funds to support CANTER’s ongoing work with the facility’s retired racehorses.
“We wanted to give back to the Northeast Ohio community, who has supported ThistleDown for 89 years,” stated Rick Skinner, General Manager of ThistleDown Racino, in a press release. “These charities serve people directly in our neighborhood, as well as the horses who have given us so much joy over the years.”
Other charities slated to receive gaming proceeds were Harvard Community Services Center, which provides services for neighboring residents, and Real Life 101, which provides at-risk inner city youth assistance to graduate high school.
The funds were derived from a “controlled opening” to which 1,500 people, including friends and families of employees, were invited to the new facility to help test its readiness for the grand opening, which was held later in April.
Pam Cleverly, executive director of CANTER Ohio, says the generous donation has elevated ThistleDown to a place of prominence among racetracks that support OTTB charities.
“It’s so wonderful because ThistleDown always supported CANTER. Right when it started, they were right in there, giving us everything we needed —except for money, because they had no money,” Cleverly says. “This donation has taken them from the bottom of the pack and really brought them right up there, to the top of the list of tracks that are supporting off-track Thoroughbreds.”
The funds, she adds, will enable CANTER Ohio to take in a greater number of horses from the track this year, and transition them into new careers.
More than 700 off-track Thoroughbreds have been transitioned into new careers by CANTER Ohio since its inception in 2001. ThistleDown Thoroughbreds represent a high percentage of that total number, she says, noting that CANTER Ohio primarily serves ThistleDown, Beulah Park and River Downs.
“We have worked very closely with the management of Thistledown Racetrack over the years, and we are very excited to now be working with the ThistleDown Racino,” Cleverly says. “We are very grateful that they chose CANTER Ohio as a recipient of these funds to help ex-racehorses move into new careers.”