Fairmount Park

Dave Johnson: What a Performance!

Maybe our sport is still capable of bringing together four such people round a dinner table. But you have to doubt it. "They were comparing the theaters that they had played on the Vaudeville circuit," Dave Johnson recalls. "Which had the best backstage dressing rooms? Which had the best eating places, that you could walk to still with your costume and makeup on?" These memories were being shared between Johnson's mother and Fred Astaire. Moreover, both of those who were listening on, fascinated, had remarkable stories of their own: Astaire's...

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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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The Week in Review: Before Feasting Upon Thanksgiving Fare, Chew On This

Last week's headlines had little to do with on-track action. This coming week though, we awaken from the sport's annual post-Breeders' Cup snooze with an eye toward decent Thanksgiving weekend racing and on-the-horizon stakes that could add a touch of intrigue to the tail end of the 2020 season. But before you feast upon the holiday fare, chew on these side dishes that anchored the last seven days of the news cycle (plus a few other tidbits that didn't land on the front pages): Last Tuesday we learned via federal...

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FanDuel Announces Multimillion Dollar Investment in Fairmount Park

FanDuel Group has announced plans to make a multimillion dollar investment in Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville, IL. Under the terms of the agreement, Fairmount Park Racetrack will be rebranded as FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing. In addition, the company plans a full revitalization of the venue including the opening of a FanDuel Sportsbook retail location. The agreement signifies FanDuel Group's first investment in a race track. FanDuel Group will work with William Stiritz and Associates to revitalize the 95-year-old track including significant upgrades to the facility and the establishment...

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Illinois Grants 2021 Dates Amid Distrust for Arlington's Corporate Ownership

Citing distrust in Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the gaming corporation that owns Arlington International Racecourse, the leadership of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) on Sept. 16 asked the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) to impose a condition on 2021 race dates that would withhold millions of dollars in purse fund "recapture" money from the track if it did not end up racing its applied-for 68 days next year. The IRB, which was meeting with three newly appointed commissioners for the first time on Wednesday, probed Arlington president Tony Petrillo about...

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Barn Fire Kills Three Horses at Family Home of Fairmount Jockey

A fundraising campaign has been established to help the family of Fairmount Park jockey Elizabeth Thurman after a 12:30 a.m. fire on Sunday killed three horses and destroyed a barn and shed at the family's home in Belleville, Illinois. There were no human injuries and the family's four dogs escaped unharmed. The house, which is about 12 miles south of Fairmount, also suffered damage, according to KSDK-TV. The horses were described as "young" but were not identified by breed in news reports or on the funding page. They were named...

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Fairmount Park Gets Go-Ahead to Race Next Week

Fairmount Park has been green-lighted to resume spectator-free racing next week, coinciding with the "Phase 3" stage of the pandemic re-opening plan in Illinois. The St. Louis Post Dispatch first broke the story late Wednesday morning. Jim Watkins, the president of the Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, told the Post-Dispatch he is not sure of an exact return date, but the plan is to have seven races twice a week. Fairmount, which is 12 miles east of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, traditionally races on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday nights...

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