The Illinois Racing Board met on Friday and approved the 2014 racing calendar and mediated six hours of contract negotiations between the leadership of the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association (IHHA) and the Johnston family, which operates Balmoral and Maywood Park.
IHHA president Dave McCaffrey posted on the organization's website that the negotiations failed to produce an agreement. After six hours of negotiations (mediated by the Illinois Racing Board), no agreement was reached between Maywood/Balmoral and the IHHA. The IHHA is trying to lessen the harmful effects of recapture as they relate to purses. We, along with the Illinois Racing Board, will keep trying to come to a compromise through the weekend."
The issue of recapture has grown even larger as wagering has moved to off-track sources, and recapture dates back to 1994 when it was included in the full-card simulcasting law. It allows tracks to "recapture" revenues that moved from on track to off track. Meanwhile, horsemen have been forced to give back millions of dollars over the years, with this year's recapture amount--for both Thoroughbred and harness--reportedly topping $13 million.