Illinois Racing Board

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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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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Four Months After Announced Arlington Sale, IRB Just Now Initiates CDI Talks

After four months of no public action by the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) since Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), announced its polarizing intention to sell Arlington International Racecourse for "non-horse racing" purposes, IRB chairman Daniel Beiser disclosed just before the end of Tuesday's meeting that the IRB will only now begin the process of reaching out to the gaming corporation to try and get a clearer understanding of what is likely to happen to suburban Chicago's landmark Thoroughbred track, which faces potential permanent closure at the end of this season. But...

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News Analysis: Faced With Prospect of Losing Arlington, IRB Opts for Inaction

   One month to the date that Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), announced that it intends to sell Arlington International Racecourse near Chicago for "non-horse racing" purposes, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) Tuesday had its first chance at an open, public meeting to weigh in on that potentially devastating decision. Yet instead of addressing head-on the prospect of Arlington vanishing or proposing ways in which regulators might help to salvage the state's signature Thoroughbred track, the eight IRB commissioners treated the most pressing Illinois racing issue in decades as the proverbial...

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Request to Escrow $4.9M in 'Recaptured' Arlington Purses Again Shot Down By State

For the second time in four months, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) Jan. 21 declined a request by the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) to put $4.9 million of "recaptured" purse funds in escrow so that money can only be collected by Arlington Park if the track runs its entire slate of 68 dates in 2021. During Thursday's IRB meeting, the ITHA restated the same argument it articulated back on Sept. 16, when the 2021 dates were initially granted: that the Illinois racing community doesn't have faith that Churchill Downs,...

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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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Influential Illinois Racing Commissioner Resigns

Commissioner Thomas McCauley, who volunteered his time to play a major role in mediating the recently contentious contract negotiations between Arlington International Racecourse and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA), abruptly resigned from the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) "effective immediately" on Sep. 4. No reason was cited for McCauley's sudden departure, which was announced in an IRB press release late Friday afternoon on the cusp of the Labor Day holiday weekend. McCauley, an attorney who specializes in gaming law and regulatory compliance counsel as a partner at the Chicago-based Nisen...

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Arlington Contract Finally Inked, New Controversy Erupts Over Hawthorne Stabling

The long-overdue contract between Arlington International Race Course and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) was inked just minutes before a 9 a.m. Monday Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meeting, enabling racing commissioners to finally approve a 30-date summer season at the suburban Chicago track that will run July 23 through Sep. 26. Racing will be conducted Thursdays through Saturdays, with no open stakes races in 2020, including the track's signature event, the GI Arlington Million. TDN requested purse level specifics from ITHA representatives, but received no response prior to deadline...

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Yet Another Blown Arlington Deadline as Chaos Consumes Last-Ditch Negotiations

For the second consecutive day--and for the fourth time in two weeks--the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) on Friday had to put off voting on the fate of the nearly two-month overdue 2020 season at Arlington International Race Course. That's because the track and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) still can't come to terms on a signed contract for the meet, which is a requirement before the commission can award race dates. What has been a tense negotiating process for the better part of nine months (with four blown IRB-mandated...

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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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