Fairmount Park to Race Only Three Days

Disagreement with six union employees leads to drastic cut in dates.

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.

The track will race only April 27, April 30, and May 1.

The racing board had set a deadline for an agreement with the six union employees, and when no such deal was reached, announced the drastic cut in dates. The board last fall awarded the track 52 dates, but the union had proposed 130. The track proposed 75 days, with the union asking for 105.

The six unionized state workers are a steward secretary, two state stewards, a licensing clerk, a state veterinarian, and a security coordinator.

"Fairmount Park is currently reviewing the communication sent by the (Illinois Racing Board) concerning the status of the board's employees that work at the racetrack and has no comment at this time," track president Brian Zander said in a statement.

The track raced 90 days in 2006 and 2007, and in 2008, that number was down to 60. Last year, 57 days were raced.