The horses aren't in the starting gate yet, but there's a good reason to start sprucing up Les Bois Park. Following an auction, which featured only one bid, Ada County commissioners awarded a five-year lease to Treasure Valley Racing Monday afternoon, clearing a big hurdle to bring thoroughbred racing back to the Treasure Valley.
County Commissioners Vern Bisterfeldt and Rick Yzaguirre voted to accept TVR's annual lease bid of $75,000. Commissioner Sharon Ullman voted against the agreement. The deal also requires TVR to share one quarter of 1 percent of its total take on live and simulcast racing in excess of $10 million.
Treasure Valley Racing is a new partnership of industry insiders that includes Harry Bettis, James Grigsby, Larry Williams and Linda Yanke, in addition to the Alabama-based Greene Group, which operates a simulcast facility in Post Falls.
"The process of finding a qualified operator for this facility has had many ups and downs over the years," said Yzaguirre. "I am happy to say that it appears racing finally is ready to make its return to Ada County."
Just last week, the Idaho Legislature revised a state law to allow racetrack operators to negotiate the number of live racing days, with a 15-day minimum. While previous racing seasons traditionally opened on Kentucky Derby weekend, the first weekend of May, TVR is not expected to begin races until June at the earliest.