Chris Block

With '25 the New Target for Racinos, Optimism Accompanies '24 Illinois Race Dates

Illinois racing is still struggling to recover from the twin blows of the 2021 closure of Arlington International Racecourse and the inability of the state's two surviving Thoroughbred venues--Hawthorne Race Course and FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing--to follow through with building their proposed racinos that were legalized back in 2019. Yet Thursday's Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meeting was conducted with a noticeably welcome tone of cautious optimism, as commissioners unanimously approved 2024 race dates against the backdrop of revamped racino construction schedules at both venues that could mean gaming revenue...

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Partnerships: Get Into The Game With Crown's Way Racing

It is said that life is simply a series of memories you share with the people you love. For Tony Rallo and his brother Tyler, most of those memories include Thoroughbred racing and Crown's Way Farm. First exposed to horse racing by their grandfather, Ron Dicicilia (their original family name) and his brother Gene Cilio, both stalwarts of Illinois Thoroughbred racing, the Rallo brothers have resurrected the Crown's Way name and set out on a new path in racing, developing, and managing a racing partnership group. In fact, due to...

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Persevering She Can't Sing Makes the Grade in Chilukki

Making the 33rd start of her career, her 19th in the last two years and ninth of her 5-year-old season, Lothenbach Stables' She Can't Sing (Bernardini) may just be better than ever and earned an extremely valuable first victory at the graded level in the GIII Chilukki S. as the sun began to set on Churchill Downs Saturday afternoon. A highly impressive allowance victory beneath the Twin Spires last October catapulted the homebred filly into this race, but she beat just one home and hadn't tried the dirt since. A...

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The Week in Review: Wayne Lukas Rolls the Dice

In an era where most every trainer has grown way too cautious and overly patient, 86-year-old Wayne Lukas has emerged as a breath of fresh air. Lukas announced last week that he was going to run his star filly Secret Oath (Arrogate) in the Apr. 2 GI Arkansas Derby against the colts instead of in the safer pick, the GIII Fantasy S. run the same day. It's not just a bold choice, it is a smart choice. With the contingent of males heading to the Arkansas Derby an unusually weak...

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Minnesota-Bred Charlie's Penny Upsets the Silverbulletday

A dominant debut winner on the Arlington synthetic Sept. 17, Charlie's Penny was fourth to Souper Sensational next out in Woodbine's Glorious Song S. a month later. Capturing an optional claimer on the dirt at Churchill Nov. 28, she was third in this venue's six-panel Letelier Memorial S. Dec. 19. Stretching out to two turns for the first time here, Charlie's Penny was away alertly and established herself in third, running off the fence through glacial early fractions. Three wide exiting the bend, the gray motored clear in the lane...

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No Deal for Arlington Meet
No Deal for Arlington Meet

Weekend-long contract negotiations that were supposed to result in a last-ditch effort to salvage the 2020 meet at Arlington Park did not result in a deal that was acceptable to both the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) and track management. The chief sticking point, as it has been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is Arlington's insistence on a two-year contract, while the ITHA wants to ink terms for only one year. As a result, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) on Monday morning declined to vote on awarding race...

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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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