06/17/2001 11:00PM

Rockingham, horsemen reach deal


Live racing will resume at Rockingham Park at the end of this week after horsemen and the track signed a purse contract Sunday following a weeklong dispute.

The dispute, which centered on the division of revenue from simulcasting, will still cost Rockingham two live racing cards, on Monday and Wednesday, because horsemen boycotted the entry box over the weekend. Rockingham began taking entries for Friday's card on Monday.

"It was regrettable this went on this far, but we're looking forward to making progress in the future," said Ed Callahan, the general manager of Rockingham.

Manny Roos, the president of the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said Monday that horsemen signed a two-year contract with the track. The horsemen will receive approximately 4.4 percent of simulcast revenue this year and approximately 4.85 percent of simulcast revenue in 2002, Roos said. Horsemen had previously received 4 percent of simulcast revenue.

"It's not on parity with the national average, but it was enough to make it viable for a trainer to run a horse here," Roos said. "He can pay the bills on that."

Overnight purses at Rockingham have averaged $90,000 a day since the meet started on Sunday, June 10. Roos said the new simulcasting percentages will result in an immediate purse increase, beginning with Friday's card.