Six Horse Field Posted On:Mar 20, 2011 | Posted By:Glen
As horsemen look forward to spring, the ITHA has had some very difficult decisions to make.After weeks of careful deliberation, the ITHA board has reached a compromise with Arlington Park regarding a purse distribution agreement for the 2011 Arlington meet.This will ultimately allow Arlington to run for $175,000 daily.Several factors influenced this request by Arlington; however, the most influential of these circumstances pertained to field sizes of six horses or less.
Studies have shown that larger fields equate to greater handle.When field size drops to six horses or less the purse account is affected. A negative net effect of $800,000 to the purse account was encountered at Arlington in 2010 due to numerous six horse fields.
Arlington’s general manager, Tony Petrillo, had asked the ITHA board to consider a different approach relative to purse distribution.Initially a minimum eight horse field size was asked for but ultimately rejected by all stakeholders.Countless spread sheets and models were developed, then analyzed but ultimately rejected as no solution seemed eminent given the complexity of these sliding scale spread sheets.
The choices were grim.Arlington’s purse calculations were $155,000 per day if no solution was reached.IL horsemen would also be exposed to very specific six horse fields being used.Even worse was the potential for a purse reduction if a compromise could not be reached.
After days of discussion three of our owner / directors, Steve Holland, Gary Jones and Nate Ruffalo suggested that we should only deal with a solution to six horse field’s size since this was the source of negative purse effect.At that point, a compromise between management and horsemen began to be understood.The ITHA board and Arlington management agreed to a 15% reduction in the base purse on field sizes of six horses or less.
This purse redistribution program was agreed to by the ITHA board as well as several prominent owners and trainers and will be subject to review after 45 days.In addition this agreement only pertains to the 2011 Arlington Park meet.
Negotiated Benefits to Illinois Horsemen
The benefits to the Illinois horsemen are numerous including:
·Illinois bred horses which win Non-Winners of an allowance state bred race will remain eligible for open Non-Winners of an allowance race. (The ITHA has been trying to accomplish this rule for at least many years; this will essentially allow IL breds to win this condition twice).
·Illinois Prairie State stakes program will remain unchanged!
·Allowing the six horse field, allowance races, (both IL breds and open horses) to be carded and run therefore utilizing existing horse population, less shipping to competing tracks and overseeing of purse money to maintain $175,000 daily.
·Arlington has decreased Stakes Purses by $1,250,000 collectively in 2010 and 2011.
·Allow overnight purses of $175,000 instead of $155,000 without this program
·Races written in the condition book with at least six (both IL and open) horses will run as scheduled in the book.
·Horsemen stabled at Arlington Park but shipping to Churchill to race will ship free of charge on the shuttle
·Arlington Park agrees to support horsemen in changing scratch rule down to eight without a vet scratch.(This is on the IRB agenda for 4/23/11).
·This program will be up for review after 45 days
·This re-distribution program will stabilize purse accounts so that no overpayment to purses takes place which would result in a purse reduction
·This program applies to the 2011 race meet only
The ITHA board is insistent that we have adequate reporting from track managements.This was a very difficult compromise for me as president to commit to.I do not take redistribution of purse money lightly nor do I wish to agree to any new purse reallocation standards.These are however; very difficult economic times and adjustments have to be made to maintain the highest level of thoroughbred competition.