• Tue. Jun 15th, 2021

Historic Arlington Park’s Racing Days Numbered as Churchill Downs Plans to Promote Illinois Monitor


Feb 24, 2021

Posted on: February 23, 2021, 04:55h. 
Final up to date on: February 23, 2021, 07:12h.

Steve Bittenbender Learn Extra

Churchill Downs Inc. introduced late Tuesday afternoon that it has begun the method to promote Arlington Worldwide Racecourse, the long-lasting Chicago-area monitor. It’s a transfer few discovered stunning.

Horses go the grandstand in an undated picture at Arlington Worldwide Racecourse. On Tuesday, Churchill Downs Inc. introduced it could start the method to promote the historic monitor. (Picture: ArlingtonPark.com)

The transfer means the 2021 racing season, scheduled to run from April 30 to Sept. 25, will in all probability be the final for the monitor, which opened practically a century in the past in Arlington Heights. In a press release, Churchill Downs mentioned it doesn’t count on a sale to shut earlier than the tip of the meet.
Nonetheless, the Louisville-based gaming firm additionally introduced a industrial actual property agency will market the 326-acre property as a “redevelopment alternative.”
In a press release, Churchill Downs CEO Invoice Carstanjen touted the monitor’s proximity to downtown Chicago and the property’s rail station as key options to the subsequent tenant.
“We count on to see sturdy curiosity within the web site and stay up for working with potential consumers, in collaboration with the Village of Arlington Heights, to transition this storied location to its subsequent part,” he mentioned.
“Unhappy Day” for Group
In an e-mail to On line casino.org, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes mentioned the suburban village will work with Churchill Downs and actual property agency CBRE in hopes the customer will make the most of the “uniqueness” of the property to its fullest extent.
Nonetheless, his temper was bittersweet.

Sure, it’s a tragic day in Arlington Heights,” Hayes informed On line casino.org. “Glad that we’ll have horse racing once more at Arlington Park not less than this 12 months, as we have a good time a enterprise that has been our primary attraction for greater than 100 years.

“Arlington Park and its many staff have contributed a lot to Arlington Heights through the years as a valued neighborhood accomplice, and shall be dearly missed.”
In Churchill’s assertion, Carstanjen mentioned the corporate stays “very dedicated” to sustaining racing in Illinois. That would come with both one other a part of the Chicago space or elsewhere within the state.
“We’re exploring potential choices with the state and different constituents and stay optimistic that we will discover options that work for the state, native communities, and the 1000’s of Illinoisans who make their dwelling straight or not directly from thoroughbred horse racing,” he mentioned. “We’re dedicated to the Illinois thoroughbred racing trade and can take into account all choices in working towards alternatives for it to proceed into the long run.”
Jordan Abudayyeh, press secretary to Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, informed On line casino.org the state awaits phrase from Churchill on its racing plans within the state.
“The administration will work with all stakeholders to develop an applicable answer. We stay dedicated to making sure a robust racing trade in our state,” she mentioned.
Purse Dispute Delayed 2020 Meet
The final couple of years have been contentious ones for the monitor as Illinois horsemen and Churchill officers.

On the coronary heart of the difficulty, although, was Churchill’s determination to not apply for a on line casino license on the monitor. That transfer would have created a income stream horsemen lengthy needed to generate more cash for racing. As a substitute, previous to Illinois lawmakers passing the expanded gaming invoice that gave tracks an opportunity to supply on line casino gaming, Churchill Downs bought a majority stake of Rivers On line casino Des Plaines, which is positioned about quarter-hour away from the monitor.

Simply final week, Churchill Downs introduced plans to increase Rivers Des Plaines and make it the primary on line casino in Illinois to have 2,000 gaming seats.
The 2 sides then failed to achieve an settlement on purses for the 2020 meet for months, a transfer that delayed the beginning of the meet till July 23.
And whereas the contract was for 2 years, late final July Carstanjen induced a stir when he informed inventory analysts {that a} 2021 meet was not particular. He additionally used the decision to say that Arlington Park was not a “long-term answer.”
Arlington Historical past
Arlington’s historical past dates again to October 1927 and for years the monitor was one of many prime locations for racing. Forty years in the past, the monitor supplied the primary million-dollar race within the sport’s historical past. Very quickly, the Arlington Million rapidly grew to become one of the crucial common occasions in racing. Since its first working in 1981, it has attracted the highest older turf horses on an annual foundation.
Even after a fireplace devastated the property in 1985, Arlington’s house owners rebuilt and reopened it by 1989.
Churchill took over operations in 2000, and two years later, the monitor hosted its solely Breeders’ Cup Championships.
New Residence for the Bears?
As information started circulating about Churchill’s determination, soccer followers in America’s Second Metropolis started speculating on social media concerning the potentialities of their group shopping for the Arlington property.

It’s time @ChicagoBears go away that dump Soldier Discipline! https://t.co/bvckW9Io4M
— MoneyLineMarcos (@MarcosCarb7) February 24, 2021

Time for the bears dome
— Mike (@BigKurz) February 23, 2021

In response to quite a few studies, the Chicago Bears have a lease via 2033 at Soldier Discipline. Nonetheless, the group has been rumored for years as a possible suitor. That occurred as not too long ago as final summer season as Sports activities Illustrated’s Bears Digest reported.
Crew officers didn’t reply to a message despatched Tuesday night.
Ought to the Bears make the transfer, there property may nonetheless preserve a gaming connection. The 2019 expanded gaming regulation opened the door for skilled sports activities groups within the state to open a sportsbook at or close to their stadium. It’s how the Chicago Cubs had been in a position to attain a take care of DraftKings final 12 months.

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