Imagine this scenario: You are an Illinois breeder of a stakes winner in the fall at Hawthorne. You are due breeder awards at the meet’s end, by Jan. 30, 2010. You are told today by Hawthorne, however, that the track doesn’t have the money to pay you, and the Illinois Racing Board — the state agency governing racing — will do nothing to support your cause.
That’s exactly what’s taking place in Illinois now. According to a letter sent out to breeders today by Daniel C. Sullivan, president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, Mr. Sullivan warns breeders that the ITBOF has not received the $351,383.16 due from Hawthorne for its awards earned for the fall meet. Moreover, Mr. Sullivan’s letter states that Hawthorne is owed a total of $10 million that it’s attempting to collect from various sources, including NYOTB.
Hawthorne, according to the letter, has promised Mr. Sullivan that it will pay the awards in 45 days, but legislation mandates that the track is legally obligated to pay awards within 30 days of the end of the meet. According to sources close to the developments, the Racing Board has abdicated its duties. “Since the ITBOF verbally accepted the delay, the Illinois Racing Board refuses to intervene,” a source, who requested that he not be named, said. “The IRB also says that the standardbred purses have not been paid by Duquoin and they ‘don’t know what to do about it.’ First of all, the ITBOF doesn’t have the authority to agree to a delay, to begin with. The laws are being broken.”
And, in a sign of the times, no one is getting paid — at least on time.