Plan For New Chicago Track Forging Ahead Despite Big Differences In Gaming Law Interpretations

An Illinois businessman with a background in both real estate development and racehorses is actively putting together an investment team to build a new $180-million Thoroughbred racino about 35 miles south of Chicago. But even a year before the first shovels might break ground, controversy is swirling because of different interpretations of the enabling gaming law that is a linchpin for the project to proceed. Ronald Awsumb, 68, who has owned and bred Thoroughbreds and also worked as a bloodstock consultant alongside his family's chief business of building malls and...

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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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'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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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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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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Hawthorne Won't Race 2020 Spring Meet to Allow for Racino Construction

Hawthorne Race Course will not run a spring Thoroughbred meet in 2020 because the afternoon races will conflict with the large-scale reconstruction of the track's grandstand and clubhouse that will transform the plant into a racino. Earlier this summer, Illinois legalized slot machines, table games and sports betting at the state's commercial pari-mutuel tracks. The Blood-Horse first broke the story on Thursday, but TDN obtained additional details about the project from both Hawthorne and Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) officials. "The beginning of the construction is going to be in...

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