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posted: 8/10/2011 8:27 AM

$141 million released to horse racing industry

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois' horse racing industry is getting an influx of cash.

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph ( ) reports that $141 million that's been collecting in an escrow account for years was released this week to race tracks and horse owners.

The cash is at the heart of a legal case that's gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It involved a 2006 law that diverted 3 percent of the earnings of the state's four biggest casinos to subsidize the horse tracks.

Tony Somone is executive director of the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association, and he says the financial boost is going to stimulate the state's horse racing community.

And Illinois Racing Board Executive Director Marc Laino says purses could start going up quickly.