What's in a name? River Downs Race Track to become Belterra Park

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati's River Downs Race Track will be renamed Belterra Park, the owner of the race track said Wednesday.

River Downs has operated in Cincinnati since its 1925 opening, just across from Royal Oaks Park on Kellogg Avenue. Almost 90 years later, Pinnacle Entertainment plans to change more than just the name.

As the park approaches the May 2014 opener, Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center vice president and general manager Kevin Kauffman said in a release, "The $200 million renovation project will transform the property into a gaming and entertainment center complete with video lottery terminals, dynamic restaurants, VIP lounge, additional parking and more."

In November 2012, Pinnacle hoped to give the aging track a facelift by converting it into a racino with gaming a slot machines.

RELATED: Pinnacle Entertainment puts $200 million bet on River Downs construction

The one-mile dirt track will still be the only one in Cincinnati, where a new grandstand is among the plans for the project. 

Spokeswoman Kerry Andersen said the project also includes the River Downs Club for off-track betting, a new paddock, jockey's headquarters and 17 new barns. 

Pinnacle expects 700 new jobs, with more than $23 million in annual salary and benefit pay. Andersen said during construction alone, 350 construction jobs will be filled as the attractions are built. 

As Pinnacle plans, the first race as Belterra Park will run May 8, 2014. 

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