Collinsville, Illinois 62234
Fairmount Park Racetrack is a horse racing track in Collinsville, Illinois, a part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The track hosts Thoroughbred flat racing. It is one of five horse racing venues currently active in Illinois, and the only one outside the Chicago, Illinois metro area. The track featured also Standardbred harness racing, but discontinued it in 1999.
The track opened in 1925. The racing surface is a one-mile (1.6 km) dirt oval, with straight chutes for six furlong and 1 1/4 mile races.
Fairmount Park offers simulcast wagering from tracks throughout the country. It also operates four off-track betting facilities in Alton, Carbondale, Springfield and Sauget, Illinois; a fifth OTB facility in Grayville, Illinois closed in early 2007.
As recently as 1997, Fairmount Park offered as many as 232 live racing days per year. But in recent years, the track has suffered greatly with the advent of riverboat casinos in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Racing dates have declined to 90 per year, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
In 2007, track management announced a plan to build a 20,000-seat amphitheater at the track and expand live racing (including the reinstatement of harness racing), pending approval by state lawmakers to allow slot machines to be installed, similar to racinos in nearby locations. When the legislature did not approve slots in its regular session, Fairmount management applied to the Illinois Racing Board for 90 days of live racing, but said that if lawmakers did not approve relief for horse tracks in its November "veto session," the track would only run 60 days, citing declining attendance and betting handle, competition from casinos, and overpayment of the horsemen's account for purses.
On January 6, 2010 Fairmount was stripped of 49 of its 52 allotted live racing days due to the 6 member union failing to reach a compromise with track ownership. The only live racing days will be April 27th, April 30th and May 1st in 2010. The simulcasting is not expected to be affected by this ruling.
On January 25th, 2010 Fox 2 St. Louis released" It looks like the horses will run all fifty two races as originally scheduled at Fairmount Park race track. The Illinois state racing board wanted to cut the number to three. It was all based on a labor dispute with five workers. But a tentative agreement should keep Fairmount open. Illinois state representative Jay Hoffman says the racing board overstepped its bounds, "there are ways to deal with labor disputes; one of them is not jeopardizing the livelihood of families." There is a meeting tomorrow 1/26/10 to go over the agreement.
The track's general manager claimed that purses at the track were less than half that of similar tracks in neighboring Kentucky and Indiana. The request was granted with those conditions intact.