By Bill Finley
According to a report in Chicago's Daily Herald newspaper, Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the owner of Arlington Park, has sent official notices to employees informing them they will be laid off 14 days after the final day of the meet, which is Sept. 25.
CDI has not committed to racing beyond the end of this meet and has put the track up for sale. The layoff notices are a discouraging development after CDI applied for 2022 Illinois racing dates. A date request is not binding and does not have to mean that CDI intends to keep the track open.
The Daily Herald obtained a copy of a memo sent to employees by Arlington President Tony Petrillo, which read: “As it was announced earlier this year the Arlington Park Racecourse, LLC has been placed on the market for sale which will result in the closure of Arlington International Racecourse. Consistent with these plans, employment separations presently are expected to begin on or about Sept. 25, 2021. The entire Racecourse facility is being permanently closed in conjunction with the expectation of the sale.”
Nick Micaletti, the business agent for Teamsters Local 727, which represents 50 Arlington employees, including valets and the starting gate crew, held out hope someone would come in, buy the track and keep it open for racing.
“It's a reality now, whereas before it was, well, hopefully somebody comes in and buys it and does the right things and helps Illinois horse racing,” Micaletti told the Daily Herald.