IRB Authorizes $13.7-Million 'Recapture' Payment

The Illinois Horse Racing Board Monday authorized a "recapture" payment of $13.7 million that will go from the horsemen's purse fund to the state's racetracks.

Arlington Park will receive the largest payment--$3,930,666. Hawthorne Race Course will receive $2,999,962 and three Standardbred tracks in Illinois will receive a total of just under $6.8 million.

Left out of the windfall is the National Jockey Club, which owns the shuttered Sportsman's Park. The NJC believes it is still owed a payment because it continues to a run a meet each year at Hawthorne, but the IRB disagreed.

It was not immediately known whether the NJC would take any further action.

The recapture payment is used to compensate tracks for the loss of live handle since full-card simulcasting was authorized in 1995. Last year's payment totalled just over $15 million.

The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association filed a lawsuit in January 2003 to stop the recapture payment but it has yet to be heard by the courts. The lawsuit was filed because horsemen previously were reimbursed the recapture payment by the state government. That practice was ended last year because of a deficit in the state budget.

Recapture is triggered when the total live Illinois handle in any calendar year is less than 75% compared with 1994 total live Illinois handle. Recapture equals 2% of live handle lost at each facility in the state, which includes off-track betting outlets.