Evanston, Wyo. Horse racing fans along the Wasatch Front who planned to visit the Wyoming Off-Track facility in Evanston to wager on the Breeders Cup races Friday and Saturday will be disappointed.
A dispute between the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the owners of Wyoming Downs and Wyoming Off Track will prevent the simulcast signal from Churchill Downs from being shown.
In simplest terms, the HBPA is reacting to the fact that Wyoming Downs did not conduct a live race meet this year, and the HBPA has the authority at Churchill Downs to decide where the simulcast signal is sent.
From the beginning of off-track betting in this country, simulcast legislation was put in place to benefit live horse racing. Without live racing, simulcasting benefits only the owner of an off-track facility.
In a statement posted on the Wyoming Downs web site, the owners of the track and the off-track operation said: "Due to an HBPA boycott of the Wyoming OTB network, we were informedâ¦that we will be unable to wager on the Churchill fall meet, including Breeder's Cup.
"While we are not responsible for the actions of the HBPA and have tried to work with the HBPA to avoid this situation, we do apologize for any inconvenience to our customers."
Said Charles Moore, the executive director of the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission, "The HPBA has denied the signal coming in here. It is a dispute between the horsemen and the [off-track] operators in the state. As far as the state of Wyoming is concerned, this is something those two parties need to work out."
Moore admitted that the state of Wyoming, Churchill Downs, the owners of the off-track sites and the other businesses serving the people who planned to travel and wager on the Breeders Cup will lose money.
Asked about the ill-will created when racing fans travel to the off-track sites and are told, for the first time, that the Breeders Cup races won't be shown, Moore said, "Oh, boy.