Illinois racing

ITHA vs. Arlington to Federal Court

A $775,000 purse account dispute between the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) and Arlington International Racecourse, LLC, that has simmered for over half a year got escalated to federal court Wednesday. The ITHA is alleging a purse account underpayment in 2021 from now-defunct Arlington and a breach of contract triggered by Arlington's refusal to hand over the money once it became known the property was scheduled to be sold and that no racing would occur there in 2022. Asked for comment via email late Wednesday afternoon, Arlington president Tony Petrillo...

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Cautious Optimism in Illinois Racing

Illinois racing has its problems. There's no more Arlington Park, there will be only 64 days of racing this year and the circuit will shut down in the middle of the summer. But with the 2022 season about to start Saturday at Hawthorne, officials at that track are predicting that navigating through this year will be challenging but not impossible. "How are we going to do? I can tell you more Wednesday when we draw the first card," said Racing Secretary Al Plever. "But I think were going to be...

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Report: Arlington Employees Receive Layoff Notices

According to a report in Chicago's Daily Herald newspaper, Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the owner of Arlington Park, has sent official notices to employees informing them they will be laid off 14 days after the final day of the meet, which is Sept. 25. CDI has not committed to racing beyond the end of this meet and has put the track up for sale. The layoff notices are a discouraging development after CDI applied for 2022 Illinois racing dates. A date request is not binding and does not have to...

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CDI Reportedly Asks for '22 Illinois Dates Application

The Week in Review, by T.D. Thornton Two months before Arlington International Racecourse is scheduled to run what is feared to be the historic track's final race, Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the gaming corporation that owns the up-for-sale landmark, has reportedly requested an application for 2022 race dates from the Illinois Racing Board. But as columnist Jim O'Donnell of the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago put it in his Friday scoop of this story, "What the carnivorous CDI will do with the application remains to be seen." With a July...

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Arlington Heights Trustees Take Steps That Could Impact Sale of Track

The Arlington Heights Board of Trustees has passed an ordinance that would prevent Churchill Downs from placing any restrictions on what a buyer of Arlington Park can and cannot do with the 326-acre property. It is feared that Churchill will not sell the track to any individual or group that expresses an interest in opening a casino or even to anyone committed to maintaining racing at the historic Illinois track. Churchill may want to limit competition for the nearby Rivers casino that it co-owns in the town of Des Plaines....

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Churchill Downs Announces It Will Sell Arlington Park

Churchill Downs announced Tuesday that it has launched a process to sell Arlington Park, which sits on 326 acres of real estate 30 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The sale will be handled by CBRE Group, a full service commercial real estate firm. Arlington's future looked bleak in September of 2019 when Churchill Downs made the surprising decision to not take the necessary steps to open a casino on the racetrack property. It is widely believed that Churchill did not want to create competition between an Arlington casino and a...

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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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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, 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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