ThistleDown Racino announced today that the facility will remain at its current Cuyahoga County location and will not exercise its state-approved option to relocate to the Akron–Canton area. The 89-year-old racetrack was recently expanded to include video lottery terminals (VLTs), and reopened as a racino in spring 2013. The ThistleDown Racino site straddles the city of North Randall and the Village of Warrensville Heights.
Racino owner Rock Ohio Caesars considered its option to move the facility, but ultimately determined that Cleveland’s east side is the best location to operate and further expand the facility.
The village, city and county’s desire to make needed infrastructure upgrades and improvements to further develop the area surrounding ThistleDown was a determining factor in ROC’s decision to retain and expand ThistleDown in Cuyahoga County. The area has experienced a renewed interest from investors and a significant increase in visitors since the Racino opened last year. Local officials are expected to begin upgrade and improvement plans in the coming months.
“We are pleased that our preliminary talks to revitalize the area surrounding the racino played a role in ThistleDown’s decision to stay and we are excited to begin working immediately with the various stakeholders to bring these plans to life,” said Mayor David Smith of North Randall.
“We are elated to hear the news that ThistleDown has decided to play an important part in the continuous growth of our area,” said Mayor Brad Sellers of Warrensville Heights. “ThistleDown, Warrensville Heights and the surrounding area have a bright future.”
“ThistleDown Racino has received a tremendous welcome from Cleveland’s east side and from the Northeast Ohio community as a whole,” said Marcus Glover, Northeast Ohio senior vice president and general manager of Caesars Entertainment. “We look forward to working with the mayors and county to determine how to further enhance the guest experience at ThistleDown for years to come.”
In agreement with the Ohio State Racing Commission, ThistleDown plans to invest at least an additional $60 million to update and add guest amenities. Over the next several months, the racino will explore improvements that will further enhance ThistleDown’s gaming and entertainment experience
The additional investment will be the latest in a host of upgrades to transform ThistleDown into a premier gaming and entertainment destination. ThistleDown reopened on April 9, 2013 following an $89 million renovation that added a 57,000 square foot VLT gaming floor, six dining options, two bars and Ohio’s first outdoor gaming patio. The addition of gaming also created more than 600 jobs at the property. Included in the renovation was a $1 million upgrade to the wagering floor, which added more than 150 high-definition, 60-inch, flat screen TVs for horse racing enthusiasts to enjoy both live and year round simulcast racing action.
The addition of VLTs has also breathed new life into the time-honored sport of Thoroughbred racing at ThistleDown. During the 2014 racing season, ThistleDown purses have grown 28 percent. The track’s famed Ohio Derby on July 19 will carry a purse of $300,000, which is three times the event purse size in 2013.
Summer of Fun
A host of activities will activate the ThistleDown apron every Saturday this season as part of ThistleDown’s Summer of Fun. ThistleDown’s all-ages race track, apron and grandstand are conveniently connected to the (21 and over) gaming area, so fans of all ages can participate in numerous activities while watching the horses as they thunder around one of the nation’s best tracks. Event highlights for the Summer of Fun include:
- June 14: Dads are encouraged to bring the whole family to the track for a special Father’s Day salute with live music, family friendly entertainment and picnic foods on the apron.
- July 5: It’s a picnic on the patio with a barbeque pit, live entertainment on the apron and a fireworks show.
- July 19: The Ohio Derby returns for its 80th running and a total purse of $300,000. This 8.5-furlong race is open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds and is the premier race at ThistleDown.
All VLTs and events on the gaming floor are restricted to adults 21 and over.