Tell the Truth, Mike!

Tell the Truth, Mike!

Campbell must answer questions following his misleading attacks and falsehoods

Arlington Park is calling on Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Mike Campbell to come clean and answer questions in response to his attempt to peddle false information that could result in significantly less money for owners, the State and all horsemen who hire the trainers and ultimately destroy the state’s horseracing industry.

Campbell’s baseless claims and manufactured issues are designed to escalate emotions among horsemen when Arlington Park and the ITHA are engaged in contract negotiations that threaten to delay the 2013 meet, scheduled to begin on May 3.

In addition, Campbell is attempting to distract his members from his attempts to deplete Arlington Park’s purse account (money that should remain available to owners through payment of purses) by demanding $1.3 million for purported administrative costs, which would reduce purse accounts by $15,000 a day.  Combined that with the money the ITHA receives from Hawthorne’s purse account, that figure is over $1,700,000.  Reduced purses means shorter fields, less handle, less purse money for you and less money for the State. Furthermore, transparency has been lacking and Campbell has yet to provide an accounting of the unprecedented sums he demanded from the purse account for the ITHA’s purported administrative expense in 2012.

Tell the truth, Mike. Why are you using excessive amounts of purse money for ITHA administrative purposes instead of overnight purses for horsemen?

Campbell’s primary scare tactic has been to falsely claim that Arlington Park wants to impose an across-the-board stall rent provision this year, which is purportedly holding up contract negotiations.  The truth is that Arlington Park and the ITHA settled this issue a month ago. It was never Arlington’s intention to charge across-the-board stall rent.  The issue arose only because stalls had been used during last year’s meet for training purposes, instead of racing.   Arlington and the ITHA Contract Committee agreed that Arlington will not charge stall rent in 2013, and both sides committed to working together on efforts to ensure fuller fields and larger purses during future racing meets.  This was confirmed in a letter from Arlington General Manager Tony Petrillo to the horsemen on February 27, 2013.   Arlington further clarified that it would follow the recommendations of your Contract Committee to impose a fee of $100 on any trainer who is stabled at Arlington and races at other tracks while the same races are offered at Arlington. 

Mike, tell the truth. Why are you claiming that stall rent remains an issue?

Campbell insists on stoking fears among people he claims to represent in an effort to distract from the current dispute between the ITHA and Arlington as to why he insists on draining more from the purse account for administrative costs and his refusal, to date, to account for the use of nearly a half a million dollars in “distress payments” made last year.  Campbell’s demand to take  even more money from purses for ITHA administrative expense would mean that breeders, owners, trainers and jockeys continue to lose out.  All racing participants want to preserve overnight purses and racing opportunities. Stop spending purse money.  Stop taking money from the State that is needed to regulate our industry. Mike almost all this money could be recovered, reduce your expenses like every other company is doing in the current economic environment. You should eliminate expenses and adjust your budget accordingly. There are certain things that are nice to have but not necessary.

Tell the truth, Mike. Will you be transparent in your financial dealings?

Ultimately, we must all work together and find solutions to create more racing opportunities, protect the industry’s purses and better compete with other states. Doing so will positively impact everyone– from the owners to the grooms – and the 35,000 Illinois agri-business jobs throughout the state.

Don’t be fooled! The fact is that we are down to a few issues that center on protecting the integrity of purses, preserving state revenue and ensuring accountability and transparency of how the ever-increasing sums demanded by Mike Campbell for administrative use is being spent.   These are goals Arlington Park is committed to working toward so Illinois horseracing can start on schedule – and thrive – in Illinois for years to come.

Tell the truth, Mike. Why are you attempting to mislead your members?

Do you have a hidden agenda such as looking for greater things for yourself in the future? Why do you claim credit for the things you haven’t done or insist that matters are still in dispute when they were resolved long ago? 

Mike, the owners that you claim to represent are entitled to know the truth.