JC / Railbird

No Consensus (Yet)

The NEHBPA board met on Sunday to discuss the latest offer from Suffolk Downs for the 2011 meet, but a consensus on the terms could not be reached, reports Lynne Snierson:

“There was a lot of talk but there is no agreement yet,” said one board member who asked not to be identified. “Our discussions were mostly about clarification, of both exactly what Suffolk is offering and of what we want and what we can accept. There is no consensus among us at this time, but one may be within reach.”

Details of the proposal have not been confirmed. Both sides may have moved toward a compromise on purses and days, with Suffolk reportedly upping its offer for total purses to $8.4 million* from $7.5 million and the horsemen giving way on the 100-day meet minimum the group has sought. Snierson indicates that the simulcasting revenue split, which the horsemen have argued should be 50-50, may also still be in contention. The board will meet again tonight to discuss the proposal; updates here as available.

*The total of the new offer from Suffolk is in line with the counter-offer made by the NEHBPA to the track on February 10, which proposed purses based on available revenue and 100 days. A source confirms the track is proposing average daily purses of $103,000 to $110,000 for 75-85 days of racing.

1:15 PM Addendum: More from Snierson:

Suffolk Downs has threatened to shut down in March if the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and other chapters across the country do not restore simulcast signals by Feb. 26, according to a source close to the negotiations in the ongoing dispute …

A racetrack source said there was no deadline for the offer, but indicated that it was important for the blocked simulcasting signals to be restored quickly or purses and days on offer for the meet were in danger of being cut due to lost revenue. During the weekend of February 12-13, the first full weekend Suffolk was unable to simulcast such tracks as Aqueduct and Gulfstream, handle was down approximately 50% over the equivalent weekend the year before.


You realize Lynne Snierson worked for Rockingham Park correct? She always tries to knock the horsemen for closing down Rockinghham.

This from her Bloohorse article:
“..When asked if there will be live racing at Suffolk Downs this year, the board member replied, “I think we will race. This will all get worked out. It always does.

History has proved otherwise. The NEHBPA board became embroiled in a similar contract dispute with the management of Rockingham Park after the 2002 season. After negotiations broke down and an impasse was reached, Rockingham switched to harness racing and the New England Thoroughbred circuit ended.”

Funny she fails to mention Ed Callahan’s famous lie, and put in in the lap of the horsemen. Sloppy journalism, hey the Bloodhorse will hire anyone these days for $20/article. The truth of the matter is the horsemen had a verbal agreement worked out with Ed Callahan who the next day lied and said the agreement never happened. Rockingham’s ownership ran the place into the ground sucking up every dime, pushing out thoroughbreds in favor of trotters who they could give 20,000 a day in purses. The ownership thought they would get slots, reap giant profits and give tiny purses. All the greedy owners died without seeing the pot of gold. They killed racing for nothing.

I enjoy your blog Jessica, but don’t link to every article as gospel. People like Lynne Snierson have an axe to grind and their writing is a passive aggressive attempt to get back at the horsemen.

Posted by Wallace Phipps on February 21, 2011 @ 9:39 am

>> the Bloodhorse will hire anyone these days for $20/article.

I sure hope my pal Mr. LaMarra is making more dough than that.
It comes back to the price of Yuengling (again) LOL

Posted by The_Knight_Sky on February 21, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

The point was if they were hire a talentless person like Snierson, then they aren’t exactly scouring the ivy leagues for talent. Mr. LaMarra is obviously head and shoulders above Snierson.

Posted by Wallace Phipps on February 21, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

Thanks for the comment and the additional context, Wallace. I think what happened at Rockingham is very much in the minds of everyone following the dispute at Suffolk.

What Snierson reported re: the offer under discussion was accurate; her source’s claim that Suffolk threatened to close in March if it doesn’t get the signals back by February 26 less so.

Posted by Jessica on February 21, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

You are welcome Jessica. It is hard to read some of these writers with an axe to grind, I would have thought the bloodhorse would vet out some of these writers before using them. I understand they are freelancers, but that is all the more reason to fact check them even more vigorously.

Posted by Wallace Phipps on February 22, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

Thank you Wallace. I too have been reading all the bs about how Rockingham Park was closed due to the horsemen. Rockingham closed because management flat out lied to the horsemen that they had an agreement. They lied the next day and said they never agreed. Negotiations were ended. They were a greedy bunch and Ed Callahan will go to his grave knowing his lies and deceit ended Rockingham. That his handshake and word mean nothing.

Posted by Jh on February 22, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

I think a deal will be done in the next day or so. I am no longer a board member (the rockingham bs was enough to sour me) but still dialed in. Good luck to the horsemen and the track. Put this behind you, and get expanded gambling once and for all….

Posted by Jh on February 23, 2011 @ 7:02 am