Today, the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association (IHHA) tried to get a temporary contract to begin racing immediately at Balmoral and Maywood Park. Unfortunately, again we could not agree to terms. We will continue as often as possible to work towards a sensible solution.
Discussions between all parties (IHHA, May/Blmp, and Illinois Racing Board) took place with no agreement. The length of the contract continues to be a major sticking point.
On a separate note, I want to comment on mediation; I hope to clear up some possible misconceptions. First and foremost, mediation has been mandated by the IRB. This was a result of negotiations that endlessly unfold like the movie "Groundhog Day." Almost daily, potential deals progress and then inevitably blow up. After witnessing these events for the umpteenth time over the weekend, the IRB mandated mediation.
The IHHA happily welcomes the IRB mandate of mediation. Perhaps, with professional help, a deal can actually make it to the finish line and a deal can be made.
The IHHA proposal to race through the mediation process has been met with a thud. With $5.5 million in our purse account, there is absolutely no reason in the world that we shouldn't be racing for 2013 purses, IF NOT MORE, during the process.
In the meantime, we'll keep trying to make a deal that ensures horse people of racing for their money, preferably in 2014.
From Dave McCaffrey, for IHHA