Rural racing returns

Nevada Gaming Control Board recommends horse racing dates for Ely and Elko

Reading time 1:23 min

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has recommended approval for horse racing dates in rural Nevada. The board's recommendations include race dates in Ely from August 16-18 for Agricultural District No. 13 in White Pine County, and in Elko from August 23-September 2 for the Elko County Fair Board. These recommendations are set to be considered by the Nevada Gaming Commission on June 20.

Annual county fair horse racing is a key rural tourism event for both White Pine and Elko counties. The Nevada Gaming Control Board oversees wagering on these races and ensures the safety of horses and jockeys. This includes testing animals for performance-enhancing drugs.

In 2023, both Ely and Elko experienced lower gaming revenues compared to the previous year, largely due to thunderstorms that interrupted the races.

Andrew Olsen, an agent for the Gaming Control Board, reported that the Ely races generated approximately $90,000 for 18 races in 2023, down from $105,000 for 22 races in 2022.

Olsen noted: “Thankfully, there were no jockey injuries in 2023. However, there was one horse that suffered a traumatic head injury in the saddle and paddock prior to race one. The horse was examined by the state veterinarian, sedated, and humanely euthanized after being transported to the barn area. Ely ran a clean race week last year with no Regulation 30 violation investigations being required.”

Regulation 30 governs the conduct of races and specifies the permitted medications and dosages for horses.

Elko also faced challenges due to weather but managed to generate $267,000 in revenue for 50 races in 2023, slightly down from $273,000 for 49 races the previous year.

Olsen highlighted an incident where jockey Joe Sainz was ejected by his horse on the first turn out of the track after completing the fourth race and required medical treatment. However, no horses were injured during the 2023 races. Olsen did mention that one horse tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance in Nevada.

The trainer of the horse was fined and his portion of the winnings from the purse were redistributed to the other winners from the same race,” Olsen stated. 

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