Not Very Rosy: Illinois Dispute Puts Derby Simulcast in Jeopardy

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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.

Read more in the Chicago Tribune

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  • G. Power

    The “horsemen’s groups” have way too much power and represent a small percentage of trainers. Very few trainers benefit from the 10% automatic collection of purse money except the board members of the HBPA while keeping the other 90% of trainers living in fear. It’s time to review, at a federal level, the legality of the HBPA taking 10% of people’s money without a choice. This needs some serious review.

  • hadrianmarcus

    Dear Churchill Downs Inc.,
    What goes around, comes around….

  • THE ENFORCER

    THIS LATEST BLUNDER BY THE POWERS OF ILLINOIS RACING CONTINUES WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MANY OF US THIS YEAR– OUR ADW ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN FROZEN SINCE JANUARY DUE TO THE INEPTNESS OF THE ????????????( YOU FILL IN)…NO END IN SIGHT!!

    WHO DESERVES THE BLAME–THE RACING BOARD, LEGISLATORS,HORSEMEN,OTHER ENTITIES??…IN THE END, THE BELUVED RACING CONSUMER SUFFERS..

    CAN AN ILLINOIS RAILBIRD– IN THE KNOW– PLEASE ADVISE..

    PS.. ANOTHER ARLINGTON MEET OF SHORT FIELDS FOR 2013??

    • Bob C

      The racing board, legislators, horsemen but most of all uncaring and unimaginative racetrack management deserve the blame.. Add to it a governor who refuses to sign an expanded gaming bill because he is getting his palm greased by existing casinos in Illinois. Indiana and Iowa racetracks have left Illinois in the dust. Hawthorne and Fairmount are hanging by a thread, as are the two harness tracks Balmoral and Maywood. CDI will drop Arlington like a bad habit if they don’t get slots. Hard to imagine how things could be any worse in Illinois. Equally hard to believe is that nobody in a position of authority really seems to give a diddly damn.

  • Lost in the Fog

    Arlington, a lesson in bad taste, greed, and poor management. Yes, it’s pretty, but it’s really a casino in waiting. Last year they had fake jousting on “Million Day,” the food is bad and over-priced, as is admission, and worst of all is the John Phillip Sousa music constantly wailing in the paddock. Bad surface, bad stewards, ancient, tired and surly employees dressed like Las Vegas dealers – I’ll pass. And then trying to ace Hawthorne out of dates and the Derby trail. Disgusting! My solution, boycott Twin Sprires.com, although it may never matter as these Illinois “legislators” can’t even seem to agree on how to cut up the pie.

    • Richard C

      Bill Veeck had it right in his outstanding book — “Thirty Tons a Day”. There are plenty of people with a long-shot hope that their “Suffering Downs” will one day toss greed and incompetence into a trash can….we can continue to dream.

  • Don Reed

    Bend over, Illinois. Again.

  • harry

    California racing both North and South is a mess with anticipation of Hollywood Park closing in 2013. Illinois racing has already collapsed thanks to a anti racing support by Illinois Governor who cares less about horse racing. Every year for last 3 years Arlington Park and horseman have a fight putting racing at Arlington in serious jeopardy. Maryland racing is a huge mess thanks to MJC management. Purses were increased by slot money and the stands continue empty. The betting at Pimlico is a joke. Florida racing will take a serious hit because Calder and Gulfstream propose to go head to head year round in 2014. In all these situations NOBODY WINS. What about the racing fan??? If not for the racing fan wagering there would be no racing. When ever disputes arise the fans take the biggest hit. High takeouts,ridiculous short fields,tracks not maintained and food not fit for dogs. Who cares its track owners policy we open doors come if you like but if u do not like who cares. Churchill wants out of horse racing that is abundantly clear. Fair Grounds turf course is a disgrace and needs to be replaced before Thanksgiving Day (opening day). Churchill can’t agree with horseman about purse money but they have no problem BUYING a rundown Casino in Maine.It is so sad that a sport we all love has gone back so so bad because of politics and track owners who just don’t care about racing but more about Casino’s. Sad so sad.Who loses we the fans!!!!.

  • jttf

    what i have heard, is that this going to take a long time to get fixed. government officials are not in any hurry to get this straightened out. the pot smokers are more important than racing. the chicago horsemen did this same thing last year. they tried to keep the fan from betting the derby. the chicago horsemen could care less about the racing fan. churchill downs showed some very bad judgement discarding the illinois derby. arlington synthetic racing is boring. i rarely bet chicago racing.

  • Art7105

    If I read this right I am assuming this will affect all tracks in Illinois ?

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