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Racing Board Roughed Up

Published: January 26, 2010 2:47 pm ET

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Two Illinois state legislators, unhappy with the treatment they received from the Illinois Racing Board, said yesterday there is some confusion among racing board members about who has authority over whom in the state.

State senator Bill Haine said, “I just have a message here to the racing board. It is constituted by law to fairly regulate an industry. It is not constituted to put a part of that industry out of business.”

He was referring to the board’s earlier decision to cut Fairmount Park’s racing dates from 52 to three because of a track management-union dispute over five or six union racing board employees.

The legislators said the racing board was holding Fairmount Park “over a barrel,” and state representative Jay Hoffman said, “We were prepared to go to court today to obtain a restraining order indicating that the actions of the racing board were unconstitutional and beyond their statutory authority.”

It turned out the order was not needed. The board, whose executive secretary had insisted was not likely to change its mind over the date cut, quickly restored the full dates when a tentative agreement between the board and the union was reached.

Senator Haine was not happy. He said he had a second message for the board, that the senate confirms the governor’s appointment to the board, and that he “will not forget how this track was treated, and how we were treated in the past few months.”

(Harness Tracks of America)


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