Arlington Park

CDI Grilled by IRB About Arlington's Control of ITWs

Exactly 50 days after executing a purchase-and-sale agreement that will see Arlington International Racecourse demolished to become the future site of a football stadium, the gaming corporation Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) came before the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) Thursday to request 2022 licensure to retain control over simulcasting at its inter-track wagering (ITW) locations even though it won't be hosting any live racing next year. The IRB heard contentious pro-and-con testimony on the Arlington-related agenda items, but in the end essentially punted on the matter by voting 10-0 to "lay...

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Bears-Arlington Partnership 'Makes Too Much Sense to Blithely Dismiss'

As the only member out of 10 on the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) to directly address the pending closure of Arlington International Racecourse and the devastating effect it will have on the state's racing circuit, commissioner Alan Henry said at Thursday's monthly meeting that a losing bidder in the track's sale is still working behind the scenes to fashion a deal to keep racing alive alongside a new football stadium on the 326-acre parcel. Back on Sept. 29, Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the gaming corporation that owns Arlington, announced the...

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Red-Hot Charlie Appleby Talks Arc, Breeders' Cup On Writers' Room

It takes a lot for a European trainer to become the biggest story in North American racing, but that's exactly what Charlie Appleby has accomplished, among many other things, this year. Capturing three of the four Grade I races at Woodbine plus the Jockey Club Derby at Belmont last weekend to follow up several other successful raids of top-level events in the U.S. this summer, Appleby has quite simply taken the racing world by storm at just 46 years old. Wednesday, during a short break from shopping the Goffs Orby...

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Bears Sign Purchase Agreement for Arlington

The gaming corporation that owns Arlington International Racecourse in suburban Chicago announced the signing of a $197.2-million purchase and sales agreement Wednesday that would sell the 326-acre crown jewel of Illinois racing to the Chicago Bears football team for the planned construction of a new stadium and mixed-use development. According to a Sept. 29 Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm anticipates a late 2022 or early 2023 closing of the deal. The announcement came four days after Arlington staged what were possibly the...

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This Side Up: Quit Chasing the Dollar and Try Cruz Control

Assuming that you, too, have by this stage marvelled at the tenacity, balance and athleticism of Alex Cruz in winning a race despite losing both irons leaving the gate, at Emerald Downs last weekend, then perhaps you might also have been prompted to reassess our prejudices against the seat of the 18th Century guardsman. To the modern eye, the long-shanked equitation of those days appears ludicrous: awkward, stilted and, above all, inimical to the freedom of the horse's movement. We think of the elevation of the modern jockey, as popularized...

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As Arlington Closes, Hawthorne To Shoulder '22 Dual-Breed Dates Burden

Under the shadow of Arlington Park potentially going dark forever after Sept. 25, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) on Thursday unanimously approved a 2022 race dates package that shifts the burden of hosting all Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in the Chicago area to Hawthorne Race Course. And while horsemen's groups for both breeds expressed gratitude for Hawthorne stepping up to implement a crammed-and-jammed, year-long race calendar that will be unprecedented in Illinois racing, representatives of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) said during the Sept. 23 meeting that the new...

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For Arlington, The End Is Here

The ninth race Saturday at Arlington is scheduled to go off at 6:12 p.m. Central Time and that will be it. Barring an 11th-hour miracle, the plug will be pulled by Churchill Downs and the wrecking ball will soon be on its way. Considered one of the most beautiful tracks in the world and an important part of American racing since opening in 1927, Arlington Park will run its last-ever card Saturday. On the racetrack, it figures to be a quiet afternoon. At the same track that has played host...

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Dixiana Homebred Off the Mark at Arlington

8th-Arlington, $30,000, Msw, 9-17, 2yo, 5fT, :57.57, fm, 2 lengths. ELEGANT JOY (f, 2, Kitten's Joy--True Elegance, by Distorted Humor) tuned up for this debut with a strong four-furlong spin from the gate in :48 flat Sept. 8 and was off right at her morning line of 8-1. In the vanguard early, Elegant Joy held the rail chasing from third into the turn, was pulled out three deep at the head of the stretch and kicked on nicely to post a professional two-length victory over the fast-finishing Onyourmarkgetsetgo (Makors Finale)....

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Letter to Editor: Potential Arlington Park Sale an Antitrust Violation

Dear Editor: In your article, "Arlington Horsemen Beg for Help," published Aug. 17, it is was stated by President Michael Campbell of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) at the public comment period before the Illinois Racing Board, that Churchill Downs may not sell Arlington Park to the highest bidder in order to avoid competition. Mr. Cambell said, it is "the worst-kept secret in Illinois--and we all know it--is that Churchill Downs and [that corporation's business entity at] Rivers Casino is attempting to eliminate horse racing at Arlington Park because...

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Arlington Horsemen Beg for Help. IRB Instead Tweaks 15-cent Admissions Tax

For the fourth consecutive meeting of the Illinois Racing Board in the six months since Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), announced its industry-devastating intention to sell Arlington International Racecourse for "non-horse racing" purposes, the 10-member board on Tuesday remained stunningly silent on the prospect of suburban Chicago's premier Thoroughbred venue going dark forever after Sept. 25. How pronounced was the "elephant in the room" syndrome during the IRB's one-hour Aug. 17 teleconference? After listening to impassioned pleas from the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) and members of Arlington's backstretch community for...

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Letters to the Editor: Jeff Thornbury On Arlington, James Graham

A little over 20 years ago, a young man from Ireland approached me about his wish to become a jockey in the United States. His name was James Graham. James impressed me so much with his dedication and work ethic that he soon was living at my home and galloping for me every day. His sweetheart, Lisa, joined him, they married, and Lisa became my treasured assistant trainer for a time. James showed tenacity and great athletic ability and became an apprentice rider. He has always been the same every...

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A Chicagoan's Premature Goodbye To Arlington

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL--The year was 1981. I was approaching freshman year at Wheeling High School, not far from my home, about 15 minutes north and east of Arlington Park. Three doors down from me at 1512 Clearwater Drive lived a heavy-set, middle-aged man named Bert Loebmann. He and a partner campaigned a then 4-year-old filly named Diablo Morn (that I still remember this name 40 years later is either really frightening or super impressive, you decide). Bert was an enthusiastic horse owner, even if Diablo Morn wasn't going to make...

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