Not Very Rosy: Illinois Dispute Puts Derby Simulcast in Jeopardy
Storm clouds continue to build over the Illinois racing landscape as a dispute rages on between the horsemen of the state and Arlington Park and its parent company, Churchill Downs.
Arlington Park, which is scheduled to begin its spring-summer meet May 3, has asked the Illinois Racing Board permission to vacate days if an insufficient number of horses are entered for its opening week, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. Officials with the racetrack are concerned that if a contract isn't signed before entries are taken for opening day, there will be short fields due to lack of horses.
Without an agreement in place, it is very likely that the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will refuse give permission for simulcasting and off-track wagering from Churchill Downs as a sign of solidarity between Illinois and Kentucky horsemen. That would cause Arlington to miss out on two of the biggest wagering events in North American racing – the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.
According to the newspaper, it is also quite possible that the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association could follow suit.
A shareholders' meeting, led by Arlington chairman Richard Duchossois, is scheduled for today.