A brouhaha in Illinois: Hawthorne can’t pay breeder awards

30 thoughts on “A brouhaha in Illinois: Hawthorne can’t pay breeder awards”

  1. You don’t need to be a stakes winner to be owed breeder awards in Illinois. A lot of smaller breeders/owners rely on breeders awards to keep going.

      1. OK, I see. But the point, which I know you haven’t missed, is that the rank and file are being hurt (more than the stakes winning breeders).

  2. This perfectly illustrates the 1) interconnectedness of racing and business and 2) the collateral damage resulting when one party after another dodges its obligations.

    The result is a mess like this.

    Good luck to those trying to collect.

    Frank
    http://fmitchell07.wordpress.com

  3. It’s almost as if there were a credit crisis or something.

    On a side note, my subscription to Thoroughbred Times, the ITBOF bought for me, is about to expire…just saying.

  4. Welcome to Illinois. The state is behind on payments to public schools, universities, and social service agencies. Rural schools have billboards stating how much the state owes them, and agencies that serve disability clients are shutting down. Local animal shelters are filled to the brim, and farmers find more and more pure-bred castaway dogs.

    I do hope that breeders receive their awards, but am more sincerely concerned about tip of the iceberg, trickle down effects on farm and track workers.

  5. Tell me this is not a good time to “get the Heck out of here”. This state is a total mess no matter where you turn. Law states that tracks MUST pay breeders awards within 30 days after the meet ends…..even if they have to cut the purses to find the money. It’s a dog eat dog game here. The ITBOF is a very limited organization. People don’t realize that without the Breeders Awards being paid, they don’t even have the money to pay their own employees. How come the mighty ITHA won’t step in to protect the breeders (not the organization). In the long run they will have to explain to the trainers why the purses have been cut.

    By the way, it was the ITHA that gave the short term subscription (Thoroughbred Times) to it’s members, not the ITBOF

    Just remember “Happiness is owning and Illinois Bred”

    Good Luck!

  6. nell, you and NGD have painted a very dire picture in Illinois that, unfortunately, is similar to what is visible in many other states, too. And as Frank said, all of this is so interconnected now, so when NYOTB can’t pay it’s bill to Illinois, for example, the breeder in Illinois — or elsewhere –is affected. As far as Illinois is concerned, let’s hope leadership appears from somewhere, because it’s a classic case of a chicken flapping about w/out a head, and it’s gonna make vegetarians out of all of us soon.

  7. This is shocking! This should mark the end of Hawthorne if they do not pay us our money. I am tired of the operation that they run. Please do not enter your horses to run at HAW. At least AP has a first class plant. How are the small breeders going to pay our bills? Sorry Team Block, won’t be breeding my mare to Fort Prado to race in a place like this. Where is the Casino money now? ANyone for a class action law suit?

  8. what about purses to owners are they also in jeopardy of not being paid? That would end racing at these venues. Or if they just reduce purses a lot it will effectively end any quality of racing, although the quality may have already gone down a lot.

  9. Hey guys, I understand your frustrations, but lets not over react to a bad situation. We in horse racing need to pull together in this crisis we are in. Dan Sullivan is working hard to try to get this mess straightened out. You can’t just blame Hawthorne for this mess. Racing in Illinois has been on the decline for several years. Foal registration is expected to be around 500 next year. A few years ago it was over 3500. The answer is higher purses…..simple as that. The rest will take care of itself. Lots of mistakes have been made by past officials of our organizations and by the tracks. Give Dan Sullivan a chance and also Mike Campbell with the ITHA. We certainly do not need another law suit at this time. I would ask you all to call your local representatives and Senators and ask them to support slots at the race tracks. It might be now or never.

  10. hawthorne is one thing, but also not paying the purses out from Duquoin is a disaster. Both standardbred amd thoroughbred are in big trouble. Look at the daily purses at Balmoral and Maywood often under $ 2000.

  11. Timing , The wife and I where just wondering why we havent seen the breeders money due us from the hawthorne meet . She commenting on what a “wise” choise for the mare to be running at Hawthorne … Even though we dont own here anymore we get ” BREEDERS MONEY ”
    Being a trainer myself I argued , we should have never sold this mare . She wins in open company and good racehorse are hard to come by . We’ve only been doing this for 20 years . BUt , shes right … the pain is less when you receive the breeders money … Yeah , maybe she’s right !!!! OH NO !!!! …. The Pain Has returned !!!

    What now ? the state inspector was just here last week . WE have another ILLINOIS BRED !

    start with Management … What happens if they do get SLOTS .???? We’re in trouble now !

  12. I’ve heard thru the grapevine that DRF has spoken to the ITBOF and that the IRB has decided to get involved, finally. Let’s hope the latter is true and IRB forces Hawthorne to fullfill its obligation. Let me know if the checks arrive.

  13. Heard from good source…..checks are in the mail today from Hawthorne. Lots of folks are working hard right now to get racing back on track. We are in trouble. Without slots or a 10th or 11th boat in Chicago we may be done. Call your legislators!!!

    You also have to remember that Blago robbed Peter to pay Paul……. Tom, Dick & Harry. I am sure the Department of Agriculture does not have any money to pay DuQuoin purses. What are you going to do? We keep re-electing people that don’t seem to care about anything but themselves.

    Go to Hammond, Ind., to the Horseshoe Casino, look at the number of cars in the parking garage with Illinois license plates. The boats have paid 7 billion in taxes to Indiana. Sad thing….most of it was Illinois money. Why doesn’t Chicago help Illinois and stop the bleeding to Indiana? 7 billion!!!!!!!

  14. Racing in Illinois is in terrible shape, both thoroughbred and harness. If there begin to be delays in paying owners purses racing will get a lot worse and probably be over in Illinois. If owners think they are not going to get paid it is done.

  15. Brian Appleton……I know Hawthorne has had problems and has not run the perfect track, but in this case I am going to have defend them. Hawthorne is owed huge amounts of money from the State of Illinois, and other sources, that are delinquent in their monthly payments for Hawthorne’s signal. How can they pay when they are not being paid? Hawthorne is like any other business. I just read just yesterday that handles are down double digits across the nation. Racing is in trouble. If you love racing as I do, get involved. Call your state representative and senator. Tell them to support slots at the tracks. This is the only solution I know.

  16. When you say checks from Hawthorne are in the mail, do you mean the check is in the mail from Hawthorne to the ITBOF or in the mail from the ITBOF to the Breeders?

  17. Leave it to Gary who now works for the breeders and knows everything, just ask him. He and Go Baby like to blame all others for the perils of Illinois racing. People who really know what’s been happening are LOL. Glad to see you’ve moved on. Keep sending out your mass emails though. They are great for a good laugh and God knows we all need one. As far as “slots” you might want to do a little checking on the tracks outside of Illinois. They’re not doing too well.

  18. frankthewatertank …..wow. Pretty hard on Mr. Leming. He and his wife have been very good to horse racing for several years, and much of what they do behind the scenes is at their own expense. I guess it is easy to take cheap shots when you are hidden behind a water tank!

  19. Is this the same Mr. Leming that wrote the ITBOF a scathing letter after his wife was not re-elected on the ITBOF Board? (Voting is done by general membership, not Board Members)Looks like “Fox in the hen house”, not that they have two nickels to rub together. Why would a guy like this want to help an organization that he told “to go screw themselves” not to long ago?

  20. No Good Deed…. The letter I wrote several years ago certainly was not scathing as you might want to suggest. My wife was defeated in the election by one vote. She did not solicit votes like others did. What upset me was that she spent countless hours working, writing legislation and doing research, all this of an evening after working her day job, for the ITBOF members, with no compensation or even thanks.

    Come election time just a few members even bothered to vote. It was not sour grapes, it was frustration. Anyone that knows my wife, knows you will never find a better person in the world. She worked for the Dept. of AG. for years helping horsemen all over the country. A couple of Board members even offered to resign so she could stay on the Board.

    Obviously, you do not like me, and that is fine, I have thick skin. But when you write anonymous letters, you should at least be truthful and know what you are talking about. That letter you refer to was written to the Illinois Racing magazine at least five years ago, after my wife was defeated in the election. The letter had nothing to do with the organization, just the members who did not bother to vote.

  21. No Good Deed….. Just one more thing I wanted to clear up. I have been retired for 10 years, as you know. I have turned down plenty of job offers in the past ten years. Although you say I don’t have two nickels to rub together, my wife and I, in just the past two years have been to the World Cup in Dubai, Aruba, the Bahamas, Cozumel, Mexico, 2 cruises, Las Vegas for 2 weeks, the Grand Canyon Glass Walkway, Key West, and several other less romantic places. I will tell you first hand, it takes more than two nickels to get there and back. You must not know me as well as you want other readers to think you do.

    Secondly, I did not ask to go to work for the ITBOF. I did not want the job. At first I said no. I do not need the job. I took the job to help people like Anne & Barney Gallagher, Jake Bryant, small trainers at Fairmount Park, grooms and backside workers, not for the “fat-cats” in the business. I believe in Dan Sullivan. I feel his heart is in the right place.

    Dan told me that he had made several calls to horsemen, trainers, and other Board members, and my name was the one suggested the most for the job. I want to help racing, especially Fairmount Park, where the horsemen work in lousy surroundings, with little pay, and little support. I want to help Stiritz improve racing. I want all racing people to survive. In case you don’t know it, Fairmount and hundreds of jobs are nearly gone. Hawthorne, with a 100 year tradition, run by good people like the Carey’s, is in trouble.

    If I didn’t think I could help I wouldn’t be here. So you can take all the cheap shots you want at me. I know I have the support of the little guys who are the most important players to me. You can set back and pull the trigger if you want. But you really should be decent and use your real name.

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