Illinois racing

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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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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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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The ‘Societal Evolution’ of Stallion Selection

The Week in Review, by T.D. Thornton Although the long-term implication of breeding trends on the soundness of racehorses was not an aspect that got covered in the post-mortem report released last week on Mongolian Groom (Hightail)'s fatal injury in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, the author of that analysis, Dr. Larry Bramlage, did address the topic in a Jan. 16 media teleconference that followed up on the study he was commissioned to write for the Breeders' Cup. And while the breeding-related remarks by the internationally respected equine orthopedic surgeon...

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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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