President Mike Campbell, Executive Director Glen Berman, & Trainer Director Chris Block Meet with Governor Quinn & Senate President John Cullerton Friday, August 5th Posted On:Aug 10, 2011 | Posted By:Glen
President Michael Campbell, Executive Director & General Counsel Glen Berman and Trainer Director Chris Block, through our lobbying firm Morrill and Associates, arranged a meeting with Governor Quinn on Friday, August 5, 2011 to discuss the merits of SB 744, explain its impact on the future of the Illinois horse racing industry, and urge that the bill be signed.
Myself, Glen, and Chris were joined by representatives from the IHHA and the IHBPA to ensure that Governor Quinn heard from horsemen representing the entire horse racing industry.Former Governor Jim Edgar also attended this meeting as an advocate for the horse racing industry.
After the initial introductions were made, the ITHA, IHHA, IHBPA and Governor Edgar made the case on how the horse racing industry has been decimated over the years.Governor Quinn listened intently as ITHA and others shared that owners, breeders and families have left Illinois for other racing states -- such as Indiana, Pennsylvania and Delaware -- due to the addition of slots at tracks that have brought higher quality of racing and purses in those states.ITHA and others explained how each detail of the legislation (specific to the horse racing industry) was heavily negotiated and vetted by the entire horse racing community over the last two years and that any changes, no matter how small, would likely unravel the fragile agreement that currently exists.
Governor Quinn heard from those in attendance about the difficult choices horsemen are making to move their own horses out of Illinois, because the financial support is not what is once was (and has become insufficient to make a living).ITHA and others also shared how the current situation is driving away many family-owned businesses -- some of which have existed for three or four generations.
Governor Quinn was very attentive and engaged.While he did not indicate his position on SB 744, Governor Quinn was clearly supportive of the horse racing community, the agri-business that supports the industry, and the families that are struggling as they try to remain loyal to horse racing in Illinois. Governor Quinn intends to be very thorough in his review of SB 744, and will continue to be engaged on this issue, both personally and through his staff.
Our message to Governor Quinn was simple and clear:First, sign the bill; Secondly, protect the 2,500 racing opportunities that are mandated in SB 744 in Cook County; Thirdly, completely eliminate the horsemen’s subsidy to Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course commonly referred to as recapture. Finally, protect the horsemen rates that are mandated in SB 744 agreed to by Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course.
The ITHA holds these values sacred to the passage of SB 744 that allows slots at the race track and allows the rebuilding of the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry in Illinois.