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Chicago Horseman & Racetracks Stalled

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The 2014 Chicago harness racing season still has not begun.

Last week, Illinois legislatures pushed a bill through both the Senate and House that was then signed by Governor Pat Quinn, which gave the Illinois Racing Board the funds needed to conduct racing in 2014 in the Prairie State.

Now, members of horsemen's groups and racetrack management have stalled in talks over contracts for the 2014 season.

A full card had been drawn and was set to go for opening night at Balmoral Park on Feb. 4, but that has since been cancelled. As well, 173 horses were entered for Thursday and Friday (Feb. 6 & 7) night's card at Maywood Park, but those entries have not been posted on that track's website.

IHHA President David McCaffrey said negotiations are on-going, with the Illinois Racing Board mediating.

"One of the big issues we are dealing with is the fact that the horsemen's purse account currently has a balance of over $5 million," McCaffrey noted. "With such a large balance, many horsemen believe that there shouldn't be any purse cut, let alone the 15-35% cuts that have been proposed."

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