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Illinois Racing Board

Illinois Racing Board

Racing board reverses purse decision, vacates Monday racing
By Janine Starykowicz

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL -- The Illinois Racing Board today reversed the purse redistribution for Strong Tea, who won the $160,000 American National Two-Year-Old Filly Trot at Balmoral in 2004. Strong Tea subsequently tested positive for Mepivacaine, a Class 2 drug.

The board discussed the rulings against Strong Tea's owner, Thomas Ivey, and trainer, J.D. McIntosh. McIntosh's suspension under trainer responsibility was upheld by a unanimous vote.

"It's a level so minute," said Chairman Lorna Propes, "the performance of a horse wasn't affected." Zero tolerance is not a scientific term, she explained, nor is it a term used in the law. The board voted 5-4 on overturning the purse redistribution.

The board also voted to allow Balmoral to vacate Monday night racing for the rest of the year.

The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association (IHHA) opposed Balmoral's request. Suburban Downs at Hawthorne has been racing a 6-day week, with handle comparable to Balmoral/Maywood's 7-day handle prior to the Hawthorne meet, according to IRB staff. The board unanimously approved the change to 6-day racing.

The board also approved Fairmount Park's request to extend their meet and cut back from four to three days (same number of races overall).

Balmoral's request for a new OTB parlor in Normal to replace the Bloomington OTB was also approved, as was the new concessionaire, All Seasons Golf, LLC.

Arlington Park reported that field sizes are down because of a shortage of horses. The backstretch has more than 200 empty stalls, and the scratch rate is higher than usual. Purses are on target however, and scheduled to rise for the summer festival.




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