Arlington Park

Possible Suitors for Arlington Park, But Will Churchill Sell to a Racetrack Operator?

With the track having been put up for sale and with parent company Churchill Downs Inc. failing to commit to a meet after this year's season, Arlington Park's days may be numbered. But there may be a flicker of hope. Mike Campbell, the president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, told the TDN that he knows of a number of companies and individuals interested in buying the track and keep it open for racing. "There is interest, for sure, from different parties that wish to keep it just as a...

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Mister D Stakes, Formerly Arlington Million, To Be Worth $600K

The GI Mister D. S., formerly known as the Arlington Million, will be run with a purse of $600,000 Aug. 14 at Arlington Park, in what is likely to be the final year of racing at the Chicago-area plant. The Million, along with the rest of its traditional accompanying stakes, was scrapped last year due to the uncertainty surrounding racing dates and purses at the track. Renamed for longtime Arlington owner Dick Duchossois, the Mister D. will be the centerpiece of an eight-stakes card that also includes the 1 3/16-mile...

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Churchill Downs Announces It Will Sell Arlington Park

Churchill Downs announced Tuesday that it has launched a process to sell Arlington Park, which sits on 326 acres of real estate 30 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The sale will be handled by CBRE Group, a full service commercial real estate firm. Arlington's future looked bleak in September of 2019 when Churchill Downs made the surprising decision to not take the necessary steps to open a casino on the racetrack property. It is widely believed that Churchill did not want to create competition between an Arlington casino and a...

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Request to Escrow $4.9M in 'Recaptured' Arlington Purses Again Shot Down By State

For the second time in four months, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) Jan. 21 declined a request by the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) to put $4.9 million of "recaptured" purse funds in escrow so that money can only be collected by Arlington Park if the track runs its entire slate of 68 dates in 2021. During Thursday's IRB meeting, the ITHA restated the same argument it articulated back on Sept. 16, when the 2021 dates were initially granted: that the Illinois racing community doesn't have faith that Churchill Downs,...

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Chris Polzin Named Indiana Grand's Director of Racing

Arlington Park's former director of racing and racing secretary, Chris Polzin, will assume the same titles and duties at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, beginning Monday, Oct. 26. Associated with racing for nearly 40 years, Polzin is an Illinois native whose father, Elmer Polzin, was a Chicago-area turf writer and handicapper. Polzin has been with Arlington Park since the early '80s, holding positions ranging from press box statistician to clerk of scales. He was the director of racing and racing secretary for the past 11 years. "I'm very excited and...

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Influential Illinois Racing Commissioner Resigns

Commissioner Thomas McCauley, who volunteered his time to play a major role in mediating the recently contentious contract negotiations between Arlington International Racecourse and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA), abruptly resigned from the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) "effective immediately" on Sep. 4. No reason was cited for McCauley's sudden departure, which was announced in an IRB press release late Friday afternoon on the cusp of the Labor Day holiday weekend. McCauley, an attorney who specializes in gaming law and regulatory compliance counsel as a partner at the Chicago-based Nisen...

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Arlington To Allow Limited Spectators

Arlington Park will allow limited spectators to attend live race days beginning Sept. 3 and for the remainder of the COVID-19 abbreviated race meeting, according to a post on the track's website that appeared late Thursday afternoon. Up to 300 patrons will be permitted to watch races on track from a variety of outdoor seating areas with strict safety protocols in place. All racegoers will be required to wear masks at all times, unless consuming food or beverages. No gatherings will be permitted indoors. The only interior areas with public...

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Plans in the Pipeline For Owners And Spectators to Return to Arlington

Arlington International Racecourse is awaiting decisions from local and state health officials that would pave the way for spectators to once again be allowed at the races under socially distanced pandemic precautions. The plan calls for a phased-in approach that would start with horse owners being allowed back to the track, then ramping up attendance to allow 2,000 people into the plant for live racing on the day of the GI Kentucky Derby simulcast. The Daily Herald of suburban Chicago first broke the story Friday. Arlington has proposed hosting 500...

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CDI Seeks to Sell Arlington Land

The long-term future for Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) to continue racing in Illinois involves selling its Arlington International Racecourse land for another purpose and transferring the corporation's racing license to another location. Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive officer of CDI, outlined the gaming company's desire to rid itself of Chicago's premier Thoroughbred venue in a July 30 conference call with investors. His comments came six days after Arlington's delayed 2020 season opening (because of the pandemic and a bitter contract dispute with local horse people) and one day before 2021...

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Yet Another Blown Arlington Deadline as Chaos Consumes Last-Ditch Negotiations

For the second consecutive day--and for the fourth time in two weeks--the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) on Friday had to put off voting on the fate of the nearly two-month overdue 2020 season at Arlington International Race Course. That's because the track and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) still can't come to terms on a signed contract for the meet, which is a requirement before the commission can award race dates. What has been a tense negotiating process for the better part of nine months (with four blown IRB-mandated...

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Arlington, ITHA Arrive at IRB Meeting Without Signed Contract

For the third time in two weeks, representatives from Arlington International Racecourse and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) arrived at a crucial Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meeting without a signed contract for the 2020 meet, again putting in jeopardy the already delayed and curtailed summer racing season at suburban Chicago's premier track. Thursday morning's IRB meeting went into recess 43 minutes after it started after both sides stated that they are close, but not in total agreement over a contract that would cover both 2020 and 2021 racing at...

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'Tentative' Deal in Works for Arlington Meet

A deal for a 30-date race meet spanning July 23-Sept. 30 at Arlington International Race Course was being finalized on Wednesday with the goal of having a signed contract between the track and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) in place prior to Thursday morning's Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meeting, during which the late and curtailed 2020 season could be approved. On Wednesday afternoon, Arlington issued a notice on Twitter that read, in part, "Arlington and the ITHA have reached a tentative agreement for the 2020 and 2021 race meets....

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