Arlington seeks dates that could jeopardize Hawthorne meet

by | 09.25.2011 | 8:13am
Arlington Park

When the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meets Tuesday, it will consider race date proposals that could drastically alter the state's racing landscape, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Arlington Park has requested 2012 race dates that would eliminate Hawthorne Race Course's spring meet and instead channel revenue from dark-day simulcasting on out-of-state racing during the first four months of the year into purse money for Arlington.

Under Arlington's plan, the Chicago thoroughbred season would be reduced to four days weekly during and April 30-Sept. 30 meet at Arlington and five days weekly at Hawthorne from Oct. 1-Dec. 31.  This would create two conspicuous voids on the April calendar – the absence of the Grade 3 Illinois Derby, the state's only Kentucky Derby prep, and Illinois Champions Day.

Hawthorne management and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association are fighting the change, contending that taking away the spring dates will add to unemployment and create hardship for those who reside at the track during the meet. Arlington and its parent company, Churchill Downs, maintain that unless the board grants their proposed date request racing in Illinois will be on its deathbed because of severely reduced handle.

  • Bellwether4u.com

    DO THEY(cdi)JUST TAKE WHAT THEY WANT???…GET REEL…

  • Dave

    They’re trying to get “reel”….slot “reels”…bwaaaaaa!

  • Bellwether4u.com

    CDI IS N FORE A REEL SHOCK…THAT GRIP THET HAD IS GET N A LITTLE BIT LOOSER!!!…STAY TUNED…ty…

  • Tinky

    Let’s review Churchill Downs’ logic:

    The racing industry in Illinois is in trouble because of declining handle.

    Therefore, the solution is to take away Arlington’s sole, remaining competitor’s Spring race meeting, and give all simulcast revenue to Arlington!

    Who could argue with that logic?

    And never mind that Duchossois essentially put Arlington’s previous competitor, Sportsman’s Park, out of business by himself:

    “The demise of the NJC came after Duchossois Industries —a company the Arlington chairman and his family owned — bought a NJC loan with a reported value of approximately $26 million from the Harris Bank in July, 2006 and then foreclosed.”

    And yet he has the temerity to assert this, when asked whether Arlington was attempting to drive Hawthorne out of business:

    “Nothing could be further from the truth. They’re driving themselves out of business by making bad business decisions.”

    What a joke.

  • Bellwether4u.com

    PS…THAT GRIP they & KY HAD…HAD IS RITE!!!…ty Tinky…REGULAR FOLKK$ N “THE GAME” WAKE N UP!!!…BOUT TIME!!!…ty…

  • Concerned Observer

    toBellwTHr:

    We are trying to communicate ideas and positions. Your thoughts might be more easily understood if you would leave off the hYroGliFics. Or maybe obtuse and convoluted code is your main objective.

    The CDI objective is obvious. Maximize profits in the short term regardless of the long term impact on the sport or a market. I hope the Illinois racing commission has the vision to see through this money grab.

  • anon

    Give Fairmount Park January 1 to April 30 and no summer dates — problem solved

  • THE ENFORCER

    IF YOU READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, ARLINGTON’S PURSES ARE NOT HIGH ENOUGH TO OFFER ‘PREMIUM CONTENT’..THIS IS BECAUSE ARLINGTON CONTINUALLY OFFERS SHORT FIELDS,TOO MANY NON-BETTABLE MAIDEN RACES, AND THEN THE FIELDS ARE FURTHER HURT BY LATE TRAINER SCRATCHES..THE ARTICLE ALSO SUGGESTS THAT THE REAL LONG TERM GOAL IS FOR ARLINGTON TO DRIVE HAWTHORNE OUT OF BUSINESS–THIS WILL HAPPEN TO ONE OF THE TWO ENTITIES IF SLOTS ARE NOT APPROVED..

    SHOULDN’T THE GOAL OF RACING BE TO ADD AS MUCH REVENUE TO THE CA$H STRAPPED STATE OF ILLINOIS AS POSSIBLE..

    MY GUESS IS THAT THE ILLINOIS RACING BOARD WILL ISSUE DATES SIMILAR TO THIS YEAR..

    ISN’T IT AMAZING THAT ARLINGTON DRAWS EIGHT TIMES AS MANY LIVE FANS AS HAWTHORNE??

  • Lou Santoro

    This proposal would help Turfway Park out. Each January Turfway sees an exodus of horses to Chicago and elsewhere.

  • SteveG

    CDI’s racing product is murdering their all-important bottom line. Churchill down 4% (2009 to 2010) Calder down 11%, Fairgrounds down 16% & Arlington down a whopping 21% (source latest CDI Annual Report)

    They will think nothing of snuffing out Hawthorne & the trickle down economic pain that will cause if it improves their chance to profit. We know that.

    It was apparent years ago when CDI purchased Hollywood in 1999 (for 140 mil)& flipped it in 2005 for a cool 100 mil profit to the same land company that bulldozed Bay Meadows, their approach was completely self-serving despite any holistic rhetoric to the contrary.

    Their commitment to horseracing begins & ends with the Oaks & Derby. The rest is simply real estate.

  • ace

    Churchill Downs bashers unite.
    First, Churchill has invested hundreads-you heard me, hundreads of millions of dollars in racetracks, ADWs, tote companies etc. so don’t whine about how they are in it for short term flips-they saw Hollywood Park was not a viable option and sold it-stop blaming them for the shortcomings in California racing.
    Arlington Park is entitled to ask for whatever dates they want, its a free country, and the Illinois Horse Racing Board is entitled to decide the pros and cons of their requests.
    All the CD bashers should go get their own money and invest it in this dysfunctional landscape we call racing and see how much they would enjoy getting their ass whipped on the bottom line.

  • Dark Horse

    This is called open competition. Why should Arlington not apply for whatever dates they want? That’s what Gulfstream says; Gulfstream just takes what they want.

    Why be so sore at CDI for doing smart business? They should not need to explain their logic to anyone. Do you explain you logic when you decide what horse to claim or what jockey to use? Wake up people……this is survival of the fittest in a declining business.

  • C Simon

    Arlington/CDI isn’t asking for Hawthorne’s dates, they are asking that they be eliminated so they could benefit. The idea that AP is doing this so that they can compete with Saratoga is laughable. Where are all these hidden good horses going to come from? Hell Saratoga is the best we have and it is a shell of itself.

  • Tinky

    Dark Horse –

    Your objections would be much more persuasive if the deck wasn’t so badly stacked in favor of the biggest, wealthiest corporations.

    In other words, if those in power to make the decision are impartial, then Arlington’s request will obviously be rejected. But much as Federal regulatory and oversight bodies are tainted by corporate monies and revolving doors, it is actually possible that Arlington will be granted what would amount to a monopoly on Thoroughbred racing in Illinois.

    Do you believe that a lack of competition would be good for consumers of the product?

  • Concerned Observer

    Ace and Dark horse, CDI should prove they deverve the dates and will do something positve for horse racing.
    Look at your own stat’s. They have proven that handle falls when they get involved…..contrary to several other operators. Does Illinois give the dates to potential winners or proven losers?

  • THE ENFORCER

    (TO #12&13).. YOU ARE CORRECT.. ARLINGTON AND GULFSTREAM ARE BOTH BULLIES IN THEIR RESPECTIVE MARKETS..THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT ARLINGTON HAS TO WORK WITH A RACING BOARD–GULSFSTREAM CAN RACE WHENEVER THEY WANT..THEY PIRATED DECEMBER AWAY FROM CALDER THIS YEAR..

    THIS PAST SARATOGA MEET WAS A JOKE..SMALL FIELDS, TOO MANY MAIDEN RACES,STAKES RACES IN THE EARLY PART OF THE CARD.. AND THIS IS THE ‘PREMIUM CONTENT’ ARLINGTON ASPIRES TO??

    WHAT HAS ARLINGTON DONE TO DESERVE PUSHING HAW. OUT OF THE SPRING PICTURE??..IT HAS BEEN TRIED BEFORE–AP DOES NOT DRAW WELL UNTIL AFTER SCHOOL IS OUT(MOTHER’S DAY EXCLUDED!!)..

  • THE ENFORCER

    PS..DOES ANYONE REMEMBER HOW GOOD/GREAT THE AP AND SARATOGA MEETS USED TO BE??.. WHY SHOULD THE CURRENT RACING CUSTOMERS SETTLE FOR AN INFERIOR PRODUCT??

    SHOULDN’T THE RACING OFFERINGS IMPROVE OVER TIME?( LOOK AT THE NFL!).. DOES ANYONE FIND THEMSELVES SPENDING LESS TIME WITH THE SPORT–LIKE I DO??

  • Bob C

    THE ENFORCER is right on. Arlington (CDI) and Gulfstream (Magna) are bullies in their respective markets. The logic of AP’s management(?) is laughable. If they really want to compete with Saratoga and Del Mar they should ask for a fewer number of dates with major races like Arlington Classic, American Derby, Washington Park Handicap, Arlington Lassie and Arlington-Washington Futurity sandwiched around Arlington Million weekend. We can do without allowance races acting as a weekend feature race. Of course AP would never go along with a shorter race meeting because they want control all of the Illinois dates just like Gulfstream wants to control all of the South Florida dates.

  • Bob C

    anon—why do you think Arlington would be okay with a January 1 thru April 30 meeting at Fairmount? I would favor these dates for Fairmount IF they were granted home track status which they are currently denied. But, I don’t see Arlington and Hawthorne giving up their home track status and I don’t think those dates would fit into Arlington’s plan to dominate the Thoroughbred scene in Illinois.

  • Bellwether4u.com

    FORE CONCERNED OBSERVER…JUST TO DEEP FORE u…

  • anon

    To #19 Bob C. – I don’t expect Arlington to want to help any non-CDI property even if it might help the ‘state’ of racing in Illinois.

  • Wildhorse13

    Big Bill Carstanjen and Bonu$ Bob Evans don’t make all that money for nothing! They would like to destroy the competition and then funnel that wagering and simulcasting to Arlington and then to where they really want it, Twinspires.com. That way they can cut purse money in half and increase the Evil Empire’s bottom line and then collect those large bonuses from grateful stockholders who care as much about TB racing as they do! How much do they care? Tour the backsides at Churchill,Calder and the Fair Grounds. They should all be condemned!

  • BuckyinKentucky

    Word is Mr. D really got one over on the THA’S previous regime when he built his little simulcasting venue next to the track thus driving their take down.
    If CDI or Arlington don’t want to racing in Illinois get out of the state or sell the track to the Horsemen, they should be able to afford it if it is such a big burden to CDI’s bottom line how much can it be worth?
    This is America so CDI can do whatever they want but the fact is no one needs to support them.
    Wildhorse13 makes some valid points, the CDI backstretch facilities are shameful, which is why you never see Big Bob or Big Bill back there, they may need to use a bathroom and that sure won’t work for such “Glam Guy”s” like them, Let the reality shows see your facilities and put them on national TV so America can see the truth behind the company’s public face!

  • Dark Horse

    Fact is this is how business works in about every industry. Do you think Magna Int’l became so successful by cowering to competition and stepping aside to allow other auto part makers to have their place in that market? It’s the same story in technology, medical and finance industries. I guess people in those industries call Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Bank of America evil empires. Without them everyone would be screwed.

    Racing is no different. I do not see anyone else stepping up to “save” the way it used to be.

  • Bellwether4u.com

    KEEP YOUR FINGER$ CRO$$ED DARK HORSE…ty…

  • BuckyinKentucky

    Dark Horse, you sure seem like you are against anyone criticizing CDI.
    Unfortunately they may feel like they are bigger than the sport itself.
    Short fields,running off the regulars who have supported the traditions for years and then they keep half of the money for the pleasure of applying for Derby tickets.
    Nice!

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