Changes in the Fairmount Park Season
In the last few years, many racetracks have felt the pinch in regard to states and tracks that have combined casinos with racing and been able to increase their purses. The reduction in contenders affects smaller racetracks tremendously, as trainers move their horses to the horse racing events with the bigger purses. For Fairmount Park it has not been any different. With its neighboring states offering big purses, it has had to reduce its number of racing dates to keep its head above water, but things are looking up for Fairmount Park.
Many people were shocked when Fairmount Park announced a significantly shorter racing season than it has ever offered in its history. From hosting approximately two hundred and thirty racing events in 1999, the track is now only hosting sixty horse racing dates, which is thirty less than last year. The season will therefore begin this week and end on the 1st of September. But there is some method in the track’s so-called madness. Offering fewer racing events has allowed them to increase their purses, with some races seeing a purse increase from anything between $1 000 to $5 000.
Most of the other racetracks in the nearby states were offering almost $3 000 to $5 000 more in their purses. By decreasing races and increasing purses, it is hoped that a renewed interest will be seen in this year’s season. Hopefully offering competitive purses and saving trainers on fuel costs to drive to a different state, will bring more horses to the Fairmount Park. Members of the racetrack have already been pleasantly surprised with the arrival of over nine hundred horses at the track.
There will be a few highlights during the racing season, including the $50 000 stakes races, which will be hosted on the 26th of August 2008, on Illinois Day, and the summer holiday races on the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day. Ongoing discussions by lawmakers in Illinois are anticipated to lead to assistance for Illinois racetracks and the sport of horse racing, to keep the sport alive in the state.