The state's lengthy lag time on paying its bills has led an association to step in. The horse racing industry is fronting the cash owed to some winners of races. Breeders and jockeys have left the state for higher purses elsewhere, says Tony Somone, Director of the Illinois Harness Horseman's Association. He says namely they are going to states where slot machines are allowed at race tracks. Somone is involved in negotiations that would legalize "Racinos" in Illinois. But in the meantime, his association is coming to the rescue of those who have stayed to race in Illinois, and won at state-sponsored events like the state fairs. In past years, those who won races at the fairs in Springfield and DuQuoin have had to wait months to get their winnings Somone says instead of waiting, his association's going to award the $900 thousand dollars:
"Why keep the money in the bank when this is money that the horsemen need to pay their bills."
Somone says it's ironic because the winning horsemen are waiting to get back money paid out of their own pockets. The fair events are "stakes" races, meaning there's a per horse entry fee that goes toward the purses.
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