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And They're Off! Live Racing at Fairmount Park Starts Today

Categories: Sports
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Local gamblers will get to see this 52 days this year at Fairmount Park.
After winter filled with labor disputes and political wrangling nearly left the track with just three days of live racing in 2010, Fairmount Park kicks off the first of 52 days of thoroughbred action this afternoon with the glorious sports bargain that is Horse Hooky Tuesday.

Conditions are undoubtedly sloppy thanks to three straight days of rain but don't think for a second that the soggy weather or the shortest season in Fairmount history will put a damper on the spirits of the trainers, jockeys and degenerate gamblers that will gather in Collinsville later this afternoon and every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday for the next four months. They're just happy to have a place within 250 miles to play the ponies.

The weather is supposed to clear-up after 1 p.m. As luck would have it, that's the time the horses leave the gate for the first race. The entries and odds can be found online at Equibase. If you're there, put $2 on Mr. Zeal. Word on the street says his mother was a mudder.

Update on Illinois horse track legislation and how it affects Fairmount Park after the jump...

The season was saved thanks to a last-minute compromise between the Illinois Racing Board and a handful of union workers at the track that was brokered by the Lanny Brooks of the Illinois Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association and several local legislators, including Rep. Jay Hoffman and Sen. Bill Haine.

A bill sponsored by Hoffman and passed by the Illinois House that would have fired all eleven members of the Illinois Racing Board for trying to use the track's season as leverage in their labor dispute is stalled in committee in the state's Senate.

Another piece of legislation introduced by Haine that would and prevent further labor lockouts received a hearing last Friday in the state House and is scheduled for further debate.

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