Arlington Park

A Sad State of Affairs at Arlington

The Week in Review, by Bill Finley Arlington Park announced last week that the 2020 meet has been canceled at least through July 5, which hardly came as a surprise. No one was expecting the track to open any time soon. The bigger question for now is: will Arlington ever race again? When Arlington reopened in 1989 after the grandstand was destroyed by a fire, it seemed positioned to be among the most successful tracks in the country for decades to come. Richard Duchossois built a fabulous, grandiose racetrack, one...

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Arlington Extends Live Racing Closure

Despite being given the green-light by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to resume racing, albeit without spectators, in the state as early as June 1, Arlington International Racecourse, which had indicated previously it would not resume live racing without spectators (TDN, May 22), Tweeted Wednesday it would remain closed through at least July 4. "In support of, and with respect to the Governor's re-opening plan for businesses that may encourage mass gatherings, and in the interest of public safety, Arlington International Racecourse has made the decision to suspend the opening of...

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Grilling on the Menu for Arlington at IRB Meeting

After an Arlington International Racecourse president Tony Petrillo reiterated that Chicago's premier Thoroughbred track won't seek to start racing until spectators are permitted, Illinois Racing Board (IRB) commissioner Thomas McCauley grilled him at length Friday as to why Arlington's refusal to go spectator-free is out of step with tracks nationwide that are starting to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions. McCauley, who for months now has been practically the only IRB member to ask direct questions of witnesses, also pressed Petrillo during Friday's monthly tele-meeting on why Arlington's plans for getting up...

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Shutdown of Illinois Racing Fuels Tempers, Strains Relations

Arlington Park and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) remain bitterly deadlocked over months-long contract negotiations for the now-delayed 2020 meet. Both sides understand that the scheduled May 1 start of racing isn't going to happen because of COVID-19 restrictions, which tightened further Thursday when Illinois extended a statewide stay-at-home order through May. But the new sticking point, which emerged during testimony at Friday's Illinois Racing Board (IRB) tele-meeting, centers on the horsemen wanting to ink a only a one-year deal because of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, while track management's...

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Letter to the Editor: Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell is president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association representatives tried last week during eight hours of negotiations with Arlington Park and parent company Churchill Downs to reach a reasonable agreement on a contract that would provide adequate funding for overnight purses at Arlington in 2020. But Arlington and Churchill offered only what could charitably be described as proposals made in bad faith. The ITHA is deeply disappointed. And if Arlington's past actions serve as any guide to its steps in the coming weeks, we...

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Renowned Racing Official Tommy Trotter Dies at 93

by Reg Lansberry Tommy Trotter, whose 56-year career encompassed decades as one of the sport's most acclaimed racing secretaries, died Sunday in Aventura, FL, after a brief illness. In addition to his renown as a racing secretary, he was a widely respected handicapper who stamped the immortal careers of Kelso, Forego and other champions by assigning them forbidding amounts of handicap weight that served to certify their greatness. "When I think of Tommy Trotter, I think of Jimmy Kilroe," said Tom Robbins, executive vice president for racing at Del Mar....

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No Offers in Pipeline to Buy Arlington; No Budge in Contract Stalemate

Purse contract negotiations between the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) and Arlington Park remain deadlocked three weeks after missing a state-mandated deadline to have one in place for the 2020 meet. Despite the issue taking center stage with 90 minutes of testy back-and-forth debate at Tuesday's Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meeting, the two sides appear no closer to bridging the gap, which chiefly hinges on a daily average purse figure of $130,000 versus $200,000 for the 68-date, May-through-September meet. IRB chairman Jeffrey Brincat did underscore on Tuesday that the horsemen...

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Amid Uncertainty, Arlington Releases 2020 Stakes Schedule

Amid uncertainty over whether or not the track will be dark in 2020 as negotiations with Churchill Downs continue, the Arlington Racing Department has released the track's 2020 Stakes Schedule. The August 15th $1-million dollar GI Arlington Million is the highlight of the 18-stakes schedule worth $3.65 million. Opening May 1, the highlight of the 68-day race meet is the International Festival of Racing where, in addition to the 1 1/4-mile Million, Arlington also hosts the 1 3/16-mile $600,000 GI Beverly D. Stakes for fillies and mares and the 1-mile $500,000 GI Secretariat Stakes for sophomores. Both the Million and the...

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TDN Writers’ Room for January 8, 2020, With Mark Taylor

Taylor Made Farm will offer the largest consignment at next week's Keeneland January Sale and today, Mark Taylor is our Green Group Guest of the Week on the Writers Room horse racing podcast. The possible closing of Arlington Park, economic indicators for racing and Eclipse Award finalists are among the topics we discuss.

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Arlington Horsemen Say Track May Be Dark in 2020

Despite receiving an email from Churchill Downs officials saying they were ready to resume talking, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President Mike Campbell said he thought the odds of the track holding a live meet in 2020 were "50-50." The horsemen and Churchill, which owns Arlington, have been at odds since August, when Churchill stunned the Illinois racing industry by not applying for a casino license at Arlington. Churchill also owns the nearby Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Des Plaines, Illinois. Without any promise of having gaming revenue available to supplement...

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After Blown Purse Contract Deadline, Horsemen Claim Arlington Officials Won’t Meet

Barely 18 hours after a state-mandated Dec. 31 deadline elapsed for having a purse contract in place, the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) lashed out at Arlington International Racecourse and its publicly traded ownership, Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), claiming that the gaming company "deceived Illinois" and is now "threatening the future of live racing at Arlington by refusing to commit" to funding adequate purses for the 2020 meet. The ITHA's allegations were listed in a point-by-point press release sent to news organizations late on New Year's Day, and the top...

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Sistercharlie Ready for Arlington ‘D’-Fense

Peter Brant's Eclipse Award winner Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire}) is one of eight pre-entries for and looks to become the first in the 30-year history to win the GI Beverly D. S. more than once when she lines up in the 9 1/2-furlong heat at Arlington Park Aug. 10. Trainer Chad Brown, who has sent out the winner of the Beverly D. for four consecutive years, is also set to be represented by GI American Oaks winner Competitionofideas (Speightstown) as well as Brant's Thais (Fr) (Rio de la Plata), a...

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