Plan For New Chicago Track Forging Ahead Despite Big Differences In Gaming Law Interpretations

An Illinois businessman with a background in both real estate development and racehorses is actively putting together an investment team to build a new $180-million Thoroughbred racino about 35 miles south of Chicago. But even a year before the first shovels might break ground, controversy is swirling because of different interpretations of the enabling gaming law that is a linchpin for the project to proceed. Ronald Awsumb, 68, who has owned and bred Thoroughbreds and also worked as a bloodstock consultant alongside his family's chief business of building malls and...

[ Read More ]
The Week In Review: After 2,000 Wins The Hard Way, Next Goal For Murphy Is Retirement

After 3 1/2 decades in the saddle, Cindy Murphy knows all too well how fate lurks with every hoofbeat when you're a jockey. Occasionally though, chance and risk manifest themselves in the form of good karma on the racetrack. On Saturday night at Prairie Meadows, the rewarding circumstances of the 61-year-old jockey's 2,000th career win seemed almost too scripted to be true. Murphy's landmark victory aboard Crypto Mo (Mohaymen) in the July 8 GIII Iowa Oaks was her first lifetime graded stakes win after 18,131 lifetime mounts. It was also...

[ Read More ]
Weekly Stewards and Commissions Rulings, June 20-26

Every week, the TDN publishes a roundup of key official rulings from the primary tracks within the four major racing jurisdictions of California, New York, Florida and Kentucky. Here's a primer on how each of these jurisdictions adjudicates different offenses, what they make public (or not) and where. The TDN will also post a roundup of the relevant Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) related rulings from the same week. These will include decisions from around the country. Kentucky Track: Churchill Downs at Ellis Park Date: 06/18/2023 Licensee: Reyluis Gutierrez,...

[ Read More ]
Illinois Purse Increases: 'A Band-Aid On A Gushing Wound'

Purses will be on the short-term rise at the tracks in Illinois, thanks to a pair of recent money recovery efforts initiated by the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA). One increase at the current Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne Race Course that will be effective June 15-July 15 involves an 18% across-the-board purse bump derived from a claw-back of funds related to the closure of Arlington International Racecourse. A separate initiative required passage of a bill in the Illinois Legislature on its final day of the session last month. That action...

[ Read More ]
The Week in Review: Hawthorne Proving that Lowering Takeout Works

The handle on Thursday's nine-race card at Hawthorne was $2,080,655. That may not seem like much, but at Hawthorne, which opened Mar. 5, it was a cause for celebration. It was the fourth time this year that the Chicago-area track had topped the $2-million mark in handle, something that happened just once all of last year. What's going on? The answer, says Hawthorne Racing Analyst Jim Miller, is that bettors are gravitating towards the track's 12% takeout in the win, place and show pool, an industry low. "The lower takeout...

[ Read More ]
Hawthorne Swaps Saturdays For Thursdays For Remainder Of Season

Hawthorne Race Course will swap out Saturdays in favor of Thursdays for the upcoming June-through-Labor Day portion of its season, continuing a schedule switch that the Chicago-area track began with the current spring meet. The Illinois Racing Board (IRB) granted the change with a unanimous vote at its Apr. 20 meeting. Right now Hawthorne is racing on a Thursday-and-Sunday schedule. The changes will go into effect starting May 31, when the meet expands to three days: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Post times are 2:30 p.m. Central. Jim Miller, Hawthorne's racing...

[ Read More ]
Fewer '23 Dates, Cut in Purses Proposed by Canterbury

Despite coming off a record-handle season, Canterbury Park is proposing a 10-day schedule slice and a $45,000 average daily purse cut for 2023. The reductions were made public this week as the Minnesota track faced a Nov. 15 racing commission deadline to apply for next year's dates at the same time it is trying to extend or renegotiate an expiring agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Since 2012, that deal has provided purse funding in exchange for the track and horsemen not pursuing additional forms of gambling, and it...

[ Read More ]
Expensive West Coast Colt Gives Sire First Winner

Carolyn Wilson's Fit to Fly (West Coast), a $570,000 OBSMAR acquisition, lived up to his name with a dominant 7 1/4-length score, becoming his freshman sire (by Flatter)'s first winner. Hammered down to even-money favoritism for this debut, the bay went straight to the front and never looked back, clear at every call to win for fun over stablemate Rivzonaroll (Good Samaritan). A $155,000 FTKJUL yearling, he more than tripled that price as a juvenile after breezing in :21 flat for Eddie Woods. Fit to Fly is a half to...

[ Read More ]
Hawthorne Cuts Back to Two Days Weekly

Citing an inability to support three days of racing per week, Hawthorne Race Course asked for and received permission from the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) to drop the remaining five Sundays from its current Thoroughbred meet that runs through June 25. This is the first season in recent Illinois history with the scheduled-to-be-sold Arlington International Racecourse not running a summer meet, which has led to a thinned horse population this spring at Hawthorne. The Hawthorne season started Apr. 2 with just Saturday and Sunday racing. Fridays were added May 6,...

[ Read More ]
Kevin Costello Captures 2021 NHC Title

Joseph (Kevin) Costello, a 53-year-old executive from Chicago, IL, rode the strength of four victories and 14 top 10 finishes in handicapping contests to run away with the 2021 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Tour title. Costello, who has qualified to the NHC each year since 2016, earned $75,000 for winning the NHC Tour and is eligible for a $5-million bonus if he captures the 2022 NHC Jan. 28-30 at Bally's Las Vegas. "I always wanted to have the knowledge that I'm consistently good and that's what the Tour does," said...

[ Read More ]
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...

[ Read More ]
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...

[ Read More ]

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.