Enhanced Awards for Owners of Illinois Breds in Open Races Will Continue at Arlington
Owners of Illinois foaled or Illinois conceived and foaled horses finishing in the top three of an open conditioned race or an open claiming race of $10,000 or greater will continue to see the benefit of awards above what the law provides.
The ITHA has reached an agreement with Arlington Park under which the track will continue to boost those awards through the end of this meet. Arlington also intends to re-evaluate next spring, based on the health of the horsemen's purse account, whether to extend the practice into next summer's meet.
The enhanced payouts, which began on May 1 of this year, are made possible thanks to funds appropriated by state legislators. The owner of an Illinois foaled horse finishing first, second or third under state law receives a 40% bonus. But with the additional funds, and per our deal with Arlington, the owner now receives 52%. Similarly, the award for an owner of an Illinois conceived and foaled horse finishing in the top three, which under the law would be 60% by default, is boosted to 78%.
In May and June, the amounts awarded for these owners' bonuses were $232,343 and $216,739, respectively - or nearly $450,000 in total. Approximately $105,000 of that sum represents the increase over the minimums required by law.
ITHA leadership, together with our lobbying team, worked methodically in pursuit of these dollars - staying in frequent contact with key legislators and their staff - during the spring legislative session that concluded on May 31. We are grateful for the General Assembly's demonstration of support in providing the funds. We also thank Arlington for agreeing to allocate them accordingly.
In other positive developments at Arlington:
• The track has agreed to extend the practice, through the end of this meet, of paying a bonus of $150 per start to the owner of any Illinois bred not finishing in the top five.
• Arlington also has agreed to continue next year the six Illinois restricted stakes races in May and June. Each race is worth $50,000.
Scholarship Applications Due Sunday, July 15
At the ITHA, we're glad to do our part to help support backstretch workers and their families. Through our benevolent arm, we have over the last decade invested nearly $300,000 in scholarships for college-bound children of backstretch workers. We funded $24,500 in 2017 alone.
Applications for 2018 scholarships are now circulating and due back to the ITHA office by Sunday, July 15. If you would like to retrieve an application, please stop by the ITHA office.
We look forward to the remaining weeks of this summer meet at Arlington. We again wish all the owner and trainer members of the ITHA the best of racing luck.