A bitter dispute between harness horsemen and Chicago-area tracks, threatening the industry's crucial legislative agenda, came to a head Feb. 17 with a victory for horsemen before the Illinois Racing Board.
The Illinois Racing Board agreed July 26 to require race tracks to include "field size bonus" money in the base purse amount used to calculate owners' and breeders' awards.
Illinois racing interests say they had enough votes to pass a slots-at-tracks bill this week and some say they were sold out by measure's sponsor in the waning hours of the legislative session.
The Illinois Racing Board decided late Jan. 5 that Fairmount Park will race only three days in 2010 because of a dispute with union employees.
Legislation is advancing through the Illinois General Assembly that would bail out Fairmount Park from a purse-money problem that jeopardizes its future.
Fairmount Park's live meet, delayed more than a month by a crippling purse dispute, is finally under way. But the future of the track, located just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo., is in the hands of the Illinois legislature.
The Illinois Racing Board is satisfied that Fairmount Park officials are making progress to improve conditions in the track's stable area. The IRB earlier this year took Fairmount General Manager Brian Zander to task for poor drainage, poor maintenance and other shortcomings. At Tuesday's regularly scheduled February meeting, Zander reported on progress.
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