Millions of dollars could be rolling into Illinois horse racing purse accounts as soon as next week. The revenues would come from money that has been held in escrow which was generated by a 3 percent tax on Illinois riverboat proceeds. The amount for both harness and Thoroughbred racing is approximately $140 million. Last Friday a stay filed by the riverboat operators with the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, and the riverboats failed to file for a temporary restraining order on Monday.
On Sunday, the annual Land of Lincoln sale is set to be held in Springfield in conjunction with racing at the Illinois State Fair. "This couldn't have come at a better time for us," said Dr. Ken Walker, who sells yearlings at the sale for his Fox Valley Standardbred farm. "I think this news will help the sale quite a bit. It's something positive. We've been operating in such a negative atmosphere and this gives everyone a little hope. And I'm still optimistic that the governor will sign the casino bill with the racetracks included after the veto session (in October)."
Last Friday the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association also reported that it met with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, with former Illinois governor Jim Edgar, a Standardbred owner, joining them. The IHHA reported on its website as follows: "We met with Governor Quinn and his staff for two hours. He asked pertinent questions and seemed genuinely interested in helping our industry and keeping working middle class people employed. While we certainly didn’t get a commitment we were encouraged by his insightful inquiries. We are hopeful that the Governor will allow the horse racing industry to flourish once again by signing this helpful piece of legislation."--harnessracing.com