Columbus, MN --- The following statement provides context and background on the decision of Running Aces Harness Park to review and renegotiate the simulcast agreement. During the period of review some simulcasting will be unavailable at Running Aces. Non-Thoroughbred racing via simulcasting will still be available.
Running Aces Harness Park General Manager, Bob Farinella, outlined the following points:
“Running Aces and Canterbury Park were permitted to offer all-breed simulcasting based in part on a mutual agreement between the two tracks. For the past five years, the annual agreement has automatically renewed without input by either party. This year, Running Aces decided to review and renegotiate the agreement.
The prior simulcast agreement provided for the following payments by Running Aces:
As a result of this payment structure, Running Aces has paid almost all of its simulcast profitability to Canterbury Park over the past five years. Consequently, Running Aces suggested a deletion of the Canterbury Park fee, with the simulcast signal fees and breed purse payments remaining the same.
Running Aces has established a very strong and stable core business over the past four years.
Unfortunately, the negative trend in simulcasting at Canterbury Park, which started well before Running Aces existed, continued at Canterbury Park, even though Running Aces business has been stable for the past four years. One could presume that the offering of all-breed simulcasting at Running Aces has contributed to Minnesota live racing purses to a much greater extent than would have been possible at Canterbury Park alone. In fact, Minnesota live racing purses will suffer without Running Aces' ability to offer all-breed simulcasting.
The fairer terms Running Aces has proposed to Canterbury Park this year would continue the almost $500,000 annual benefit that all-breed simulcasting contributes to Minnesota live racing purses and continue the full service simulcasting benefit to the fan bases of each track. Running Aces should no longer have to pay Canterbury Park for races not held at Canterbury Park.
Our proposed change to the contract is sensible in light of costs and benefits and was a decision designed to better serve the horse community and guests of Running Aces. Unfortunately Canterbury Park has declined to renegotiate the contract, particularly with respect to the net fee it has been receiving.
On an additional note, in August 2012 Running Aces halted purse payments from the card room to the MNHBPA, contending that the MNHBPA breached conditions of a joint agreement from 2005. This matter is now in litigation and has absolutely no bearing on the simulcasting matter mentioned above.”