Mike Campbell

As Arlington Closes, Hawthorne To Shoulder '22 Dual-Breed Dates Burden

Under the shadow of Arlington Park potentially going dark forever after Sept. 25, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) on Thursday unanimously approved a 2022 race dates package that shifts the burden of hosting all Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in the Chicago area to Hawthorne Race Course. And while horsemen's groups for both breeds expressed gratitude for Hawthorne stepping up to implement a crammed-and-jammed, year-long race calendar that will be unprecedented in Illinois racing, representatives of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) said during the Sept. 23 meeting that the new...

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For Arlington, The End Is Here

The ninth race Saturday at Arlington is scheduled to go off at 6:12 p.m. Central Time and that will be it. Barring an 11th-hour miracle, the plug will be pulled by Churchill Downs and the wrecking ball will soon be on its way. Considered one of the most beautiful tracks in the world and an important part of American racing since opening in 1927, Arlington Park will run its last-ever card Saturday. On the racetrack, it figures to be a quiet afternoon. At the same track that has played host...

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The Beginning of the End? Arlington Kicks Off 2021 Meet Friday

In years past, opening day at Arlington Park has been an event. It comes at a time when winter is giving way to spring in the Chicago area and takes place at what may be the most beautiful racetrack in the U.S. But Friday's opening day at a track that first ran in 1927 will occur under a pall. To some, it will seem more like the opening to a funeral than the opening to a race meet. "Under that thinly disguised veil of happiness for this opening day will...

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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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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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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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