State fair reduces horse races

Jun 27, 2014

  Horse racing at this summer's state fairs will again be impeded by budget cuts. 

Illinois' two state fairs - one held in Springfield and the other in downstate DuQuoin - hold horse racing events as part of the attractions.  

By law, that's supposed to happen over five days in DuQuoin.  But according to an audit, DuQuoin State Fair was only holding three days of horse racing. The department of agriculture's Jeff Squibb explains:

"In part because of the recession, the State Fair has experienced historic deficits .  In an effort to help the state balance its budget and get back on a path to prosperity, the DuQuoin State Fair reduced its budget."

One of those budget casualties? The World Trotting Derby, canceled five years ago. Though DuQuoin used to attract horses nationwide, Squibb says there aren't enough horses to fill out five days of racing.

With the budget expected to stay level, Squibb says that'll be the case this year too. 

The audit also found that both the DuQuoin fair, and the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, charged horse owners more for entering the races than they should have by law.

 Squibb says that's also a result of smaller state contributions.