Former Fairmount trainer, Mike Fingerhut passed away on April 6th, 2017, our sympathy’s to his family and friends. Services: Visitation at KUTIS AFFTON Chapel, 10151 Gravois, Wednesday, April 12, 10 a.m. until service time at 1 p.m. Interment Sunset Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Old Friends, 1841 Paynes Depot Rd., Georgetown, KY 40324 appreciated.
Please be advised that training hours for this Thursday, April 6th will be from 6:30 AM until 9:30 AM with NO break, the starting gate will be open from 7:30 until 9:30. This is for Thursday only, there are some electric poles being replaced which require this 1 day change in training times.
Just a quick note to update all with respect to the Budget and Gaming bill. At this time all is still on track as per our last update, as explained the gaming bill is part of the entire budget, better known as the “Grand Bargain”. Also as previously reported, our gaming bill did pass the Senate, we are waiting for the other bills to be called and passed so that all may be sent to the House. It is important to note that all, “13” bills must pass the Senate and the House for any of them to become law, its all or none. Very little if anything has happened with the other bills and we are hoping the Senate will again start moving them through soon. Everyone is still hopeful that a deal on this budget can be reached, they have until May 31st before the session ends. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed and continue to call and bark at our legislators to make a deal and pass the budget. If and when things start happening, we will post all info here.
We would also like to touch base on a few other things, there has been allot of recent chatter around the track and on the internet about the struggles of racing here at Fairmount as well as all of Illinois, these conversations are good, the more who talk and join in, the more of a voice the horsemen have. But, it is also important to have correct information and knowledge of the industry here in Illinois.
First, briefly on “Recapture”. Recapture was implemented in 1995 when simulcasting began. The tracks in Illinois felt that simulcasting would hurt the “live” on track handle/wagering, therefore creating a loss of revenue as live wagering creates more income for tracks and horsemen than does simulcasting. Due to this the State of Illinois, our lawmakers allowed the tracks to recover these losses based on a percentage of what their actual total handle was in 1994. Since 1995 the tracks have been allowed to recover these losses via our horsemen’s purse account. As an example, in 2016 the track was allowed to take about $ 1,750,000.00 from the horsemen’s purse account to cover their losses based on a formula from 1994. Clearly, depleting our purse account keeps us from having higher purses and more racing dates. For horsemen here at Fairmount, recapture is the # 1 killer of racing. In order to be completely fair, I would also like to point out that when this deal was made, the State of Illinois, our lawmakers agreed to put into law that they, the “State” would cover all recapture funds taken from the horsemen, they agreed to repay and put that money back into the horsemen’s account each year. From 1995 through 2001 the state reimbursed the horsemen’s account as per statute. From 2002 forward they have not paid us a dime, they say they can’t afford it. Truthfully, all blame goes to the “State of Illinois”, they defaulted on their own law and agreement. As of yet, no one has sued them over it due to the extreme costs to do so, and if you do win, then how would you collect ? It’s a double edged sword, damned if you do, damned if you don’t !!! Recapture only ends if and when a Gaming Bill is passed and becomes law.
Next as everyone knows, about the same time as simulcasting began so did the opening of casinos here in Illinois, and let me point out that again the horsemen and this industry were not protected correctly by our lawmakers when they allowed the casinos to open, we should have had a permanent deal and or piece of the pie from the beginning. With casinos now up and running, horse racing is NOT the only game in town, much of the available gambling dollars that came to the track were diverted to the casinos. When you add together simulcasting, the casinos, recapture and the fact that our lawmakers did not correctly protect our industry, you end up with a giant drop in live handle/wagering, which is what is needed to generate monies for the purse account. Lower revenue creates lower purses and fewer racing days.
Illinois was not the only state where horse racing was suffering, every other state in the country had the same problem. And every other state did something about it, they allowed casinos or slots at tracks which became Racinos and supplemented their purse accounts with profits from their gaming, they saved their industry. I believe Illinois may be the only state in the country that has yet to allow slots or some type of gaming at tracks. The pattern here is the same, “Illinois Legislature”
The chain of events that has led to the decline of Illinois racing could have been interrupted, avoided or at minimum reversed long before now had our lawmakers done the right things and if “someone had been watching the hen house”
Currently all three tracks have their lobbyists working full time, the HBPA, ITHA and IHHA all have excellent lobbyists that are working full time, everyone is doing everything possible to make something positive happen. But, the end result lies in the hands of our elected lawmakers.
It seems the time to cast stones, place blame or complain has passed, now should be the time for all who care about this industry to ban together and begin doing whatever they can such as calling or e-mailing all legislators to let them hear our voice of frustration, and let them all know their jobs are on the line if they fail to pass a budget and gaming bill, now is the time to get their attention !!!!
Senate Bill 7
Beginning Monday, March 27th new training hours will be from 7:00 A.M. until 11:30 A.M. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday.
Beginning Monday, March 20th the track will be open for training 6 days a week, closed on Sunday’s only.
Also, from Monday, March 20th through Saturday March 25th there will NOT be a clocker, if you need works please get them in this week, MJ will be gone next week.
Attention Horsemen !!!
Today, SB7, which is the slots at tracks bill (gaming bill) was called to the Senate floor and voted on, it passed the Senate with a vote of 31-26. That is step # 1, now the bill goes to the House, it will probably get tweaked and re-worked some over the next 30 to 60 days, I am told a vote in the House would probably come in sometime in May, but again one never knows what the legislator’s plans are. We are making progress, we now must wait to see what happens in the House. As things progress I will post here.
Just a reminder, the Hawthorne Spring Meet starts on Friday, March 3rd. Hawthorne will be paying $ 150.00 per horse to trainers who ship in to run.
Beginning Monday, February 13th, training hours will be from 9:00 AM until 1:30 PM.
Due to the quarantine being lifted today at Turfway and Keeneland, everyone is now free to move between tracks and race without restrictions.
Keeneland‘s Rice Road stable area is completely out of quarantine after the Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian lifted restrictions on a final barn. Feb. 10 blood tests and nasal swabs came back negative for equine herpesvirus type 1, which led to the end of the quarantine.
A day earlier a quarantine was lifted on another Rice Road barn. With the lifting of the quarantine Friday, all Keeneland barns are free of restrictions.
“With this release, we have no barns at the training center under quarantine or restriction,” said Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the Office of the State Veterinarian. “Previous positive horses do remain under regulatory monitoring and are quarantined at a secured, segregated area off the site and will remain so until they too are confirmed negative by PCR testing.”
Later in the day Feb. 10, all horses in the quarantined barn at Turfway Park showed negative tests and that quarantine was released.
“With this barn now released, there are no racing or training facilities in Kentucky under quarantine for EHV-1,” Ford said. “Previously positive horses do remain under regulatory monitoring and remain quarantined in secured isolated areas. We appreciate the commitment, and cooperation of Kentucky’s horsemen, track managers, racing officials, veterinarians, and all others who worked to resolve these events.”