Derby Day troubles?

Apr 28, 2008 8:27 PM

by Ray Poirier | They may be the new guys in town, but their influence has grown dramatically. So much so, that Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) has run to the courts attempting to have them disbanded.

Last December, a group of horsemen from various parts of the country formed the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group (THG) with the intention of having a stronger voice in the way racetracks cut up the revenues from simulcasting and advance deposit wagering companies.

By law, horsemen at each individual track can prevent the live racing product from being sent to a track in another state. However, lacking clout, horsemen have usually accepted the revenue split dictated by the racetracks.

No more. With 18 horsemen’s organizations holding contracts with 52 racetracks, the THG has developed negotiating power. And, they are using that strength in negotiations with Calder racetrack and parent company Churchill Downs Inc.

Fearing the THG might interfere with Saturday’s Kentucky Derby airings, or at least, the other races on the Derby card, Churchill Downs filed suit against THG citing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Churchill hopes to get the court to prevent THG from "agreeing on uniform terms for the sale of (racing) signals, boycotting racetracks and ADW operators that do not comply with their demands."