Very sorry to report that long time leading trainer Everett Hammond passed away last night at the age of 79. Mr. Hammond was the dominant trainer at Cahokia Downs and Fairmount Park in the 60’s and 70’s and was the leading trainer in the nation in 1967. He of course was the brother of Jerry Hammond and the Father of Kim Hammond. Both have also been dominant in the sport for many years. Everett was also the father of Steve, Mike, and Patti. It’s sad when a local legend passes away and we wish his entire family the very best during this trying time. There will be a memorial service in his home town of Salem Illinois. I’ll pass along details as they become available.
As promised, hundreds of horse food supplements were delivered to the horsemen on the backside today free of charge. The H.B.P.A. would like to thank John Wainwright, Jerry Hammond and Kevin Wilborn for volunteering their time and trucks to make today possible. This was the largest delivery we’ve made since we started doing this several years ago. We will be getting a different variety of items after the first of the year.
We will have a large number of supplies for the horsemen in front of the H.B.P.A. office this coming Monday the 14th at about noon.
I have received the clean copy of the proposed new bylaws and have distributed a copy to all Board members for review before sending them out. I’ve also ordered the various envelopes which I should have by next week and am currently making copies of the bylaws, an explanation of the changes, and the ballot. When all of this is completed, members of the Board will then prepare the material for mailing.
It’s time to sign your kids up for Christmas dinner with Santa at the track on Thursday December 17 at 4 pm. The sign up sheet is in the H.B.P.A. office.
Last night the H.B.P.A. happily provided Thanksgiving dinner for all horsemen and their families. A huge crowd turned out and enjoyed a fabulous dinner. We will also be providing Christmas dinner complete with Santa and gifts for all the kids on Thursday December 17th. at 4 pm. in the First Turn Cafe.
We would like to thank Fairmount Park for their hospitality, especially Chef Danny and his crew.
Attention horsemen!!!! It’s time again for our annual Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by the H.B.P.A.
It will be Thursday November 19th at 5 pm in the First Turn Cafe. Looking forward to seeing everyone there.
A joint dates proposal submitted by Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course was approved by the Illinois Racing Board on Tuesday, leaving Chicago with 21 fewer Thoroughbred racing dates in 2016 than the year before, according to The Daily Racing Form.
Arlington’s meet is down to 74 days from 77, while Hawthorne will be down from 83 racing days this year to 65 next year. The agreement keeps Hawthorne’s purse structure the same but will boost purses for Arlington next year.
The 2016 arrangement is a one-year deal as officials hope that Illinois will soon pass legislation that would allow expanded gaming at racetracks.
The plan left Standardbred fixtures Balmoral and Maywood without any dates in 2016, a move that the tracks’ ownership had previously said would likely lead to the sale of both facilities by the Johnston family.
As you can see in the above article, all tracks were awarded less days for 2016 than they ran this year, with two tracks receiving none. Reality has arrived my friends.
Let’s talk about our track. We have been racing for many years with an overpaid purse account. When we received the monies from the impact fee, we owed over three million dollars to Fairmount Park. If we hadn’t received that money, we would have been closed by now. We took the remaining impact fee money and spread it over three years which allowed us to raise our bottom purse to $5000 which is the largest in the track’s history. Well folks that money is gone. We finished this season one million dollars plus overpaid. The owner then said that we must be at a -0- balance by the end of 2016. In order to do this management offered a 30 day meet next year. After many negotiations and board meetings we were then offered two choices. 36 days of racing at 8 races per day or 42 days of racing at 7 races per day since we could not fill 8 in 2015. All board members except one who gave no opinion signed off on the 42 days. Other members of the association were asked to weigh in as well. In order to keep the purse level the same as last year another concession was made by management. The training expense will not be deducted from the purse account next year. It will be deferred until 30 days after a gaming bill becomes reality or until January 1 2017 which it will be repaid in 12 monthly installments. All of this will lead us to a -0- balance in the purse account by the end of next year.
Any hope of starting earlier in 2016 was gone with the Hawthorne/Arlington plan being approved. Racing this year during the live Hawthorne meet proved unsuccessful.
As far as the gap between September and May, the on track training will continue as it has for many years to allow our horsemen to have the opportunity to race basically year round as they have done and continue to do as we speak.
These are tough times for every track in Illinois and every group has been forced to think outside the box.
From today and going forward, we all should have only one thing on our minds. Pass a gaming bill in the spring! If we don’t, training expense and racing days will no longer be a concern.