Midwest Racing News Archive

News about midwest horse racing.

A big part of St. Louis area horse racing left us earlier this week. David A. Gall, who spent almost all of his 43-year career at two area race tracks, defunct Cahokia Downs in Alorton and Collinsville’s Fairmount Park (now FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing), died Sunday in State College, Pennsylvania, at the age of 79.

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Churchill Downs Inc.'s decision to not apply for Arlington Park race dates for 2022 could jeopardize the future of its Twin Spires advance deposit wagering platform Illinois. Arlington Park’s organizational license, which allows TwinSpires to operate in Illinois, ends Dec. 31. According to the Illinois Racing Board, CDI would need a deal with another organizational licensee to keep the platform running.


One of the bidders in the Arlington Park property’s impending sale, Roy Arnold of the Endeavor Hotel Group, expressed frustration at a recent decision by Churchill Downs Inc. to not apply for 2022 racing dates. The move by CDI means that live racing is unlikely to occur next year at the historic track in the suburbs of Chicago.

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Arlington Park and its corporate owner Churchill Downs Inc. did not apply for 2022 live horse-racing dates by a Friday state deadline, dashing distant hopes of owners, trainers and fans that the iconic racetrack might return for a last lap.

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Continuing their campaign to sabotage future gaming opportunities at Arlington Park, track executives are refusing to apply with the Illinois Racing Board for race dates in 2022.

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Arlington Park employees received formal notice over the weekend that they will be laid off at the end of the race meet ... Layoffs are expected to begin on Sept. 25, the final day of racing.

s Kentucky-based Churchill Downs Inc. prepares to sell Arlington International Racecourse for development, Kentucky-based horses are poised to grab the spoils on what's assumed to be the historic track's final "Million Preview Day" July 17.

The 11-horse field for the July 17 American Derby is a striking personification of the problems that have forced Arlington International Racecourse to the brink of extinction. Three of the Derby entries, including the favorite, were last seen contesting the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. And two of those are based at Arlington, where purse cutbacks and an uncertain future have turned the facility into a virtual training center for some horsemen targeting out-of-town events.

The chairman of the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) is seeking a conversation with Louisville-based Churchill Downs Incorporated to ascertain their plans once they’ve sold the historic Arlington International Racecourse in the Chicago area.

The IRB chair said his reason for wanting the call was two-fold. First, Beiser said he wanted to impress upon Churchill Downs officials how the “uncertainty” surrounding Arlington has affected local horsemen. In addition, he wants to see how much the company will be willing to disclose about its plans for both the short- and long-term in the state.

The June 15 deadline for developers interested in purchasing the 326-acre Arlington Park race track property is not set in concrete, said Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes on Tuesday. Depending on what the track’s Request for Proposals attracts, owner Churchill Downs could reach an agreement and embrace one of the ideas or continue to seek more responses.

Although the state is letting businesses and other venues return to full capacity on Friday, Arlington Park officials are pulling in the reins on any immediate plans to add seats. "We've sold our seating packages through June, so it wouldn't be fair to some who bought those packages in advance to offer more desirable seats that weren't available under the previous phase," said Tony Petrillo, Arlington Park's president.

Reserved seating for the elite six-day all-turf meeting at Kentucky Downs in September is now available on the track's website. Kentucky Downs will be back to full capacity for live racing at the meet, which runs Sept. 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12, with its most upscale option yet for reserved seating and dining and the return of free general admission.

Oaklawn President Louis Cella said Saturday an unprecedented change is a possibility for the Hot Springs racetrack's schedule next season. Cella said Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort will present to the Arkansas Racing Commission a proposal for a likely 66-day racing season to begin Dec. 3 and conclude May 7, the date of the next Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.


"I don't think the governor can intervene in any sort of formal way," said state Sen. Bill Cunningham, the Senate's point person on gambling. "One thing I will agree with former Governor Edgar: There are many people who care about horse racing who are upset at Arlington/Churchill Downs/Rivers (Casino) for all the obvious reasons."

ITHA President Mike Campbell urged the attorney general’s office to investigate whether Churchill Downs committed state or federal antitrust violations when it took a series of steps to preclude casino gaming and abate pari-mutuel wagering at Arlington Park.

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Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, a horse owner-breeder and racing enthusiast, has called on current Gov. J.B. Pritzker to use his influence to stop Arlington Park in Arlington Heights from being sold for development by its owner, the publicly traded Churchill Downs Inc.

LEGENDARY American jockey Calvin Borel faces up to a year in jail after a second drink-drive arrest in as many years. Borel, 54, a three-time Kentucky Derby winner, was charged by cops in the US on Wednesday night.

Following a public hearing at Thursday’s Nevada Gaming Commission meeting, an amendment to Regulation 22 governing race books and sports pools will be considered by the five-member commission.

“Unfortunately, since their last off-track pari-mutuel agreement expired in October 2019, the Nevada books have not been able to successfully negotiate another off-track pari-mutuel wagering agreement with Churchill Downs, the track that hosts the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks,” the petition says.

Regulation 22 requires that a licensed race book shall determine the winners of or payouts on wagers on horse and other animal races only with information the book receives from licensed disseminators. ... [Last year] the Gaming Commission solved the problem the same way it’s been proposed for resolution this year — that sportsbooks be allowed to base race results and calculate payouts on what is presented on national television.

The live thoroughbred horse racing tradition will return to Collinsville later this month. FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing, formerly known as Fairmount Park, will welcome fans back to the track on April 27 with a post time of 1 p.m. and a “Surprise in the Sky” from Sky Dive St. Louis.

The operators of a locally owned horse-racing operation are exploring options to establish a casino in Hastings in the area of the Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S. Baltimore Ave. Breann Becker, president of FairPlay Park, presented three basic proposals to the Adams County Agricultural Society at its meeting April 13. She said she is willing to work together to come to an agreement that will benefit both parties. As one of Nebraska’s six licensed horse racetracks, FairPlay Park (operated by Hastings Exposition & Racing at the Adams County Fairgrounds) can add casino gambling to its operation thanks to the passage of Initiatives No. 429, 430 and 431 by the state’s voters in November 2020.

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