Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association

Former Track President Submits Bid for Arlington

The future of Arlington Park remains very much up in the air, but Roy Arnold is convinced that racing can prosper there and is hopeful that he can spearhead an effort to insure that one of America's most beautiful racetracks remains a racetrack for years to come. Arnold should know. He was the track's president during better times, from 2006-2010, and is currently the president and CEO of Endeavor Hotel Group. Arnold was instrumental in bringing together a consortium interested in purchasing Arlington Park from Churchill Downs. Churchill announced in...

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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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Possible Suitors for Arlington Park, But Will Churchill Sell to a Racetrack Operator?

With the track having been put up for sale and with parent company Churchill Downs Inc. failing to commit to a meet after this year's season, Arlington Park's days may be numbered. But there may be a flicker of hope. Mike Campbell, the president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, told the TDN that he knows of a number of companies and individuals interested in buying the track and keep it open for racing. "There is interest, for sure, from different parties that wish to keep it just as a...

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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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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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'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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