The Indiana Horse Racing Commission voted unanimously Aug. 21 to ban the import of signals from Arlington Park and Calder Race Course at all wagering outlets in the state.
The ban was effective immediately. The decision came nearly a week after Churchill Downs Inc. announced it would no longer send the two Thoroughbred signals to Indiana Downs’ Evansville satellite wagering facility, which is located several miles from Ellis Park in western Kentucky. CDI sold Ellis Park last year but continues to manage its simulcast signal.
“I’m glad that Churchill Downs regrets that this is happening, but it’s incumbent on this commission to do what they can to rectify the situation,” IHRC executive director Joe Gorajec said in regard to a CDI release issued a week earlier. “This is just not something the commission can stand for.”
Gorajec advised commissioners that under the Interstate Horseracing Act, the state’s regulatory agency has consent rights on signals coming into Indiana. If the IHRC votes to ban the import of a signal, both Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs are obligated to no longer accept the signal.
The commission’s decision is such that, in the event the Arlington and Calder signals are made available to the Evansville betting parlor, consent will immediately be given allowing all outlets to carry the signals.
According to the CDI release, the withdrawal of the two signals from Evansville was part of the Ellis Park sale agreement, completed last year between the Louisville-based company and businessman Ron Geary. After months of negotiations a compromise could not be reached, leading to TrackNet Media Group, in which CDI is a partner, to pull the signals Aug. 15.
“It was a contractual deal that shouldn’t have been made,” commissioner Alan Armstrong said.
Hoosier Park president Rick Moore said he understands why the IHRC had to take action but hoped the signals could be restored before the track’s Thoroughbred meet begins Sept. 1. Formerly owned by CDI, Hoosier Park, like Ellis Park, is still part of the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network.
“We will abide by any decision the commission makes,” Moore said. “Hopefully, something can be done in the next week and a half before our Thoroughbred meet opens.”