Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (7/7/11)
Reason for Fairmount purse adjustment
We started the 2011 meet with a purse balance of a negative $1.7 million. Management was given about $2.3 million cash to conduct the meet. This includes paying purses, breeders awards and the host track fee to Hawthorne. Our on-track attendance and handle has been good this year. Another positive is the performance of ADW; TVG has performed extremely well for our purse account and has been a big factor in us minimizing the negative effect to our purse balance which is now just over $2 million.
Last September at the IRB dates hearing Fairmount applied for 75 racing days, which were contingent on one of two things taking place. First the 3 percent monies being released by May 31, or passing a slots bill by the fall veto session. Neither one of these things happened. This meant that Fairmount could go to the Board to vacate dates. The word was that we would stop our meet in July. The HBPA Board held an emergency meeting that lasted about three hours. Our decision was that stopping in July was out of the question.
In negotiations with management we maintained that we did satisfy the requirement of the dates order because we passed the slots bill even though it was in the spring session. We told management that we wanted to race into September. After a long negotiation session management agreed to race until September 9 with no decrease in purses. This meant vacating 11 days which included going to two days a week in August and vacating Saturday July 30 and the four Saturdays in August.
The racing board was notified of our agreement and we were put on the agenda. However, at the June 28 meeting the Chairman and IRB members voted that we must run the five Saturdays we had asked to vacate even though the staff recommended that the board approve our request to vacate the 11 days.
This resulted in a projection that we would go over the cash available. Therefore management estimated that a reduction of $400 per race would be the amount that would allow us to race until September 9. If the handle in July is strong it is possible that the purses could see an increase.
Nobody likes the fact that purses were decreased. But I must remind all horsemen that your Board did succeed in getting you 17 more racing days than last year. This reduces our down time which reduces our training expense.
On a positive note, we did the impossible this year by passing a slots at tracks bill. The future is brighter than itís ever been before. The current situation is just another bump in the road.