Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association

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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‘Tentative’ Deal in Works for Arlington Meet

A deal for a 30-date race meet spanning July 23-Sept. 30 at Arlington International Race Course was being finalized on Wednesday with the goal of having a signed contract between the track and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) in place prior to Thursday morning's Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meeting, during which the late and curtailed 2020 season could be approved. On Wednesday afternoon, Arlington issued a notice on Twitter that read, in part, "Arlington and the ITHA have reached a tentative agreement for the 2020 and 2021 race meets....

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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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Letter to the Editor: Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell is president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association representatives tried last week during eight hours of negotiations with Arlington Park and parent company Churchill Downs to reach a reasonable agreement on a contract that would provide adequate funding for overnight purses at Arlington in 2020. But Arlington and Churchill offered only what could charitably be described as proposals made in bad faith. The ITHA is deeply disappointed. And if Arlington's past actions serve as any guide to its steps in the coming weeks, we...

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No Offers in Pipeline to Buy Arlington; No Budge in Contract Stalemate

Purse contract negotiations between the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) and Arlington Park remain deadlocked three weeks after missing a state-mandated deadline to have one in place for the 2020 meet. Despite the issue taking center stage with 90 minutes of testy back-and-forth debate at Tuesday's Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meeting, the two sides appear no closer to bridging the gap, which chiefly hinges on a daily average purse figure of $130,000 versus $200,000 for the 68-date, May-through-September meet. IRB chairman Jeffrey Brincat did underscore on Tuesday that the horsemen...

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After Blown Purse Contract Deadline, Horsemen Claim Arlington Officials Won’t Meet

Barely 18 hours after a state-mandated Dec. 31 deadline elapsed for having a purse contract in place, the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) lashed out at Arlington International Racecourse and its publicly traded ownership, Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), claiming that the gaming company "deceived Illinois" and is now "threatening the future of live racing at Arlington by refusing to commit" to funding adequate purses for the 2020 meet. The ITHA's allegations were listed in a point-by-point press release sent to news organizations late on New Year's Day, and the top...

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