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Fairmount gets 67 racing days

(Robert Altman)
Horses speed around the track at Fairmount Park Racetrack during a summertime race in 2011.

Fairmount Park Racetrack in the Metro East is getting 67 race days next year.

The Illinois Racing Board approved the race dates Tuesday.

This year Fairmount was awarded 75 days and raced 69.

But both the track and horsemen say they’re happy with next year’s 67-day schedule, which they requested.

Fairmount will be offering bigger purses for winner horses next year, and spokesman Jon Sloane says that’s good for the track.

"It’s all about the horses. You need enough horses and good ones," Sloane said. "With these higher purses horsemen will not go to other states, they’ll stay home and race in southern Illinois at Fairmount Park."

The purses will be bigger because Illinois’ top four casinos have begun giving horse tracks three percent of their adjusted gross revenues.

That’s after a legal battle over the five-year old law ended this summer.

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