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Author Topic: Attention Tery Hunt  (Read 2699 times)
kellytuc
The one, the only, and the former - Kellytuc!
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« on: January 05, 2006, 11:50:57 PM »

Since nobody seems to know the particulars of how everything got settled, maybe you can come on here and give us uniformed people another one of your summaries of how evrything got settled.  Thanks for your hard work!  Is George back yet?
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Terry Hunt
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2006, 09:06:52 AM »

Kellytuc,

I didn't want you to think I was ignoring your question, but with all due respect to the IHHA, Jack Kelly, Marty Engel, and the rest of the negotiating committee  (David McCaffrey, George Bonomo, Sam Lilly and Alan Beals) I would prefer that any official reply come from them.

I can tell you this, the committee met with track management and IRB representatives well in excess of 60 hours over the past several weeks, not including the private committee meetings, general horsemen's meetings and the hours on the phone talking to IHHA members.  At the end of yesterday's marathon session an agreement was reached.  Both sides made concessions to reach some agreeable middle ground, but neither side was completely happy.  To me, that indicates that the agreement fell into the general area of "reasonableness".  The IHHA Board was polled by telephone and supported the settlement by a unanimous 15-0 margin.

In my opinion, it is very unlikely that the horsemen could have achieved a significantly better deal by continuing the boycott.  Further, it seems pretty certain to me, that any potential gains would have been largely offset by the lost racing opportunities in the very least, and there was a  very real possibility for a net loss for the year 2006 if the boycott became protracted.

Only with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight will we have an accurate analysis of the results of the agreement.  The things that are certain though are

A.  Horsemen will be able to race in 2006 with only a minimum interruption.  By losing 5 dates - which is less than 2% of the dates awarded to Balmoral and Maywood - the IHHA was able to negotiate 30% more deferred recapture than the tracks were willing to concede a week ago AND the IHHA was able to negotiate that the collection of the deferred recapture would continue to be linked to monies coming from legislative action and not the horsemen's purse account.
B.  Recapture is an unfair element of the law, but it is the law.  We need to deal with it legislatively to be truly effective.  It is also pretty obvious that the widespread confusion about recapture extends from many horsemen all the way up to some members of the racing board.  Further, that while recapture is a significant amount of money - the total certified for 2006 will be in the range of $4,200,000 for Balmoral/Maywood harness - recapture in and of itself would not add enough to the overall purse structure (estimated to be about $27M for those tracks this coming year) to put Chicago racing on the same class as the Meadowlands or Woodbine.
C.  To accomplish that sort of goal we need legislative help, and the sooner the better.  With a contract in place hopefully the horsemen, the tracks, and the IRB can all work together on a plan to put Illinois racing back on the right track.
D.  The negotiating committee all learned the correct spelling of the word "bifurcate".  I am not sure just how much good that will do us in the future...only time will tell. Wink
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Terry Hunt
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2006, 10:04:55 AM »

        I really don't care if they meet for 3-days straight days with no sleep because they should never let it get to the last days each year to sign a contract its the IHHA'S fault. If they got there contract for the same crap as last year then they got nothing at all just a slow "DEATH" to a dying sport in Illinois. Terry even though I respect you and the IHHA wanting to make the horse racing business better in Illinois I cant help but get sick to my stomach when you or others bring the words up  "LEGISLATIVE HELP". Terry they have not done one thing for horse racing in Springfield for how long now?? So whats going to make it change now? You and others are just fooled into believing the tracks are still not making tons of money because they are. I dont care about off-shore betting and what not because the handle is not down as far as everyone claims, does anyone no how to add anymore? Thursday thru Sunday they handle very well and do very little to promote the sport. If the IHHA got the contract done months ago maybe they could have spend the thousands of dollors they waste for those meetings on some kind of advertising because the tracks are not doing it. I believe Hawthrone advertised more during a short meet then Balmoral did all year.


Even though I respect you. It makes me sick listening to those stupid pipe dreams ----SLOTS-----GETTING RID OF RECAPTURE-----OR LEGISLATIVE HELP
The horsemen will get none of the above anytime soon.

You and the IHHA have struck out for years on these 3 so I thinks its time to grab some bench and stop dreaming. Wink
« Last Edit: January 06, 2006, 10:06:47 AM by SUPERMAN » Report to moderator   Logged
Terry Hunt
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2006, 11:23:46 AM »

Superman,

My post was in response to the question posed by Kellytuc.  I think it was on topic.

Your post, while not on topic, is a fair commentary in many regards.

The hours involved are only indicative of the willingness of the committee to work for the horsemen...whether or not you appreciate the effort is a personal decision.

You are correct, the contract should have been finalized sooner than this.  You are incorrect to assert that it is the IHHA's fault.  The contract agreement reached last night, was essentially the same as the one proposed by the IHHA three weeks ago.  Unfortunately it took this long for the tracks to agree that it was a fair offer.

The same crap as last year means that the racetracks defer taking almost $3,000,000 worth of recapture out of 2006 purses, and that future purses are protected.

I agree that we have had no help from Springfield, that doesn't mean we don't need that help.  Am I foolish for working for trying to get that help?  Maybe so, but that won't stop me from trying.

I am not fooled for one minute that the tracks aren't making money.  I may be slightly different than some horsemen in that I think the tracks ought to make money.  I think the horsemen should receive a fair share of all of those profits too - so if that were the case I would have no problem at all if the tracks were making tons of money because the horsemen would enjoy their fair share. 

We cannot contractually negotiate a fair share of all the current revenue streams.  We need legislative reform.  That may or may not happen...but it certainly will not occur if we don't keep working at it.

If you don't care about off-shore betting, then you don't care about its effect on purse accounts.  Possibly that is because the tracks still advertise their total handle, but don't explain what is generated as a result.  Comparing handles from 1994 to those of 2005 is not even as close as mixing apples and oranges.  Since you don't seem to believe me, just find someone who can show you the breakdown on purse contribution from the various sources and variations, maybe they can explain it better.

I do wish that Balmoral and Maywood did more in terms of promotion.  I wish Hawthorne did more, and I wish their collective promotions were more successful.  In today's era of wide ranging choices and accessability I don't have the answer to the "how" by I do have some ideas on the "what".

I would love to see more people coming back to the track to watch and wager on our live product, just for the excitement of having crowds again.  I would love for them to wager exclusively on the races conducted before their eyes, instead of sending purse money to the Meadowlands, Woodbine, Evangeline, Sam Houston, Cal Expo and Los Alamitos during the same time as we are putting on our own show.  I would love for them to wager predominately on the straight wagers that generate the most bang for the buck for our purse accounts.  I would love for all of their wagers to be done through the windows, and not through phone betting services.

If we could come up with a marketing strategy to yield these sort of results we wouldn't be so reliant on help from Springfield.  Personally, I don't know how we can do it.  Turning our current situation around without getting some help looks like a job for Superman.
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Terry Hunt
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2006, 12:37:15 PM »

i think it is ironic that the only person we can get to explain what happens to harness racing in illinois is someone who is not even "technically" on the negotiating committee!  i give you major props terry for coming on here and explaining to us what is going on.  maybe i don't go to the right channels to get my information, ie somewhere that mr engel or ANYONE from the ihha would kindly explain what is going on.  but it is my belief that then the ihha should scout out and look at where their audience is, both cappers and horsemen, and make sure they are hitting all the right avenues.  without terry i would not understand the things i do today about the negotiations and recapture.

that being said, i would fully support any effort that mr terry hunt is putting forth (hint hint hint  Wink)
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already did this - movinawayfaraway
Terry Hunt
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2006, 02:08:54 PM »

Movin,

I was asked to serve on the IHHA negotiating committee by Marty and other members of the IHHA Board.  I was honored by the request and did the best I could for horsemen as a member of the committee.  Technically, I am not a member of the IHHA - that is another story altogether - but if I hadn't been present for the negotiating sessions I would not have presumed the course of events I have outlined.

At this point I believe the IHHA has an overview of the 2006 contract, or at least the main areas of the agreement that proved to be the most contentious and time-consuming.  I am pretty certain Jack and Marty sent out a mass e-mail to that effect, and there is something posted on the IHHA website at www.harnessillinois.com for the non-members to view.

Once the agreement was reached by the negotiating committee, there were two areas of priority.  First, the committee polled the Board members to make certain that there was support for the agreement....it turned out that support was unanimous.  Second, they began contacting trainers and owners through a pretty effective phone tree that an agreement had been reached, and to inform them that the tracks were holding the box open until 10 PM for Saturday entries.  Judging by the number of horses entered for the double header (there were nearly all full fields) I would say that it was handled very efficiently.

After they catch their collective breath I would expect that the IHHA will be able to spend a little more time informing the fans, and inviting them to come out to the races.  I will be very curious to see how the first matinee works out today.

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Terry Hunt
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2006, 02:30:39 PM »

Richard Breth has it right when he said that the root cause of the problem is that betting on Illinois races from Illinois facilities is way down.

Recapture has to be eliminated from the law for several reasons.  The biggest reason is that most people seem to believe that recapture is the ONLY problem causing declining purses in Illinois.  The actual amount taken from the Illinois harness purse account from the time "recapture" became law through the end of 2004 was $254 per race which was 3% of the total purse account.  If you don't want to believe these facts you can add up the numbers which are public information.

Of course the amount certified for recapture is a considerably larger number because the state paid the recapture bill for 4 years and part of recapture was deferred in 2003 and 2004. The POTENTIAL for real harm to purses exits even though it has not yet effected the purse account the way most people think it has. This POTENTIAL for real harm is another reason why recapture has to go and the one my fellow horsemen and horsewomen like to shout about. But as almost everyone knows the basic problem is declining customer interest in Illinois harness racing.  The amount of money actually taken out of purses for recapture is smaller than most people think.    

We have to find a way to get a fair share of the money that is now going through off-shore and rebate shops to go into the purse account. We need a more equitable share of the revenue distributed from legal betting.  We have to change the image that people racing horses are mostly crooks.  And we have to recreate customer interest particularly in Illinois harness racing.  

Slots or other subsidies from Springfield will ONLY help because it will buy time to deal with the real "root problems."
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Dan Nance
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2006, 02:59:36 PM »

Richard Breth has it right when he said that the root cause of the problem is that betting on Illinois races from Illinois facilities is way down.

Recapture has to be eliminated from the law for several reasons.  The biggest reason is that most people seem to believe that recapture is the ONLY problem causing declining purses in Illinois.  The actual amount taken from the Illinois harness purse account from the time "recapture" became law through the end of 2004 was $254 per race which was 3% of the total purse account.  If you don't want to believe these facts you can add up the numbers which are public information.

Of course the amount certified for recapture is a considerably larger number because the state paid the recapture bill for 4 years and part of recapture was deferred in 2003 and 2004. The POTENTIAL for real harm to purses exits even though it has not yet effected the purse account the way most people think it has. This POTENTIAL for real harm is another reason why recapture has to go and the one my fellow horsemen and horsewomen like to shout about. But as almost everyone knows the basic problem is declining customer interest in Illinois harness racing.  The amount of money actually taken out of purses for recapture is smaller than most people think.    

We have to find a way to get a fair share of the money that is now going through off-shore and rebate shops to go into the purse account. We need a more equitable share of the revenue distributed from legal betting.  We have to change the image that people racing horses are mostly crooks.  And we have to recreate customer interest particularly in Illinois harness racing.  

Slots or other subsidies from Springfield will ONLY help because it will buy time to deal with the real "root problems."

Auntie Mae
          You spoke above about customer interest. Let me point out to you why customer interest is down in Chicago. The biggest reason is because the Johnston's don't know how to put on a proper show.

           Here's an example why people think Chicago harness racing is a joke. Right now the track is being bladed in the 7th race when it's sunny outside. There are more delays in Chicago then any track in the country for stupid reasons. That's why we call Balmoral " The biggest delay track in North America ". 
« Last Edit: January 07, 2006, 03:28:32 PM by Dan Nance » Report to moderator   Logged
Dan Nance
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2006, 11:05:20 PM »

HANDLE SAT.NIGHT   $951,000    LESS SAT. AFTERNOON.


    I knew of only 1 casino in Vegas that took the afternoon card at Balmoral today. All the other casino's didn't want to bother. Sorry to say this again but Chicago harness racing is still......

  " A DEAD GAME LADDIE " 
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