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ITHA News

IRB Approves Arlington Racing Dates for 2020, Despite Churchill's Failure to Demonstrate a Commitment to the Growth of Illinois Racing

The Illinois Racing Board on Tuesday approved 2020 racing dates for Arlington Park and the state's other tracks. Click here for the dates.

The IRB action followed by one week its decision to direct Churchill Downs and its subsidiary Arlington to carefully re-evaluate its place in our sport and industry. Sadly, Churchill representatives on Tuesday did nothing of the sort. In fact, the company's senior vice president had trouble even acknowledging that higher purses are a net gain for the racing industry.

For those of us whose lives are dedicated to this sport – in some cases, for generations – that was sacrilege. It shows how far Churchill has fallen from the nation’s leading racetrack operator to a company that publicly is contemptuous of a basic racing tenet – that purses fuel the sport and industry, and, by extension, the livelihood of thousands.

Our industry has by virtue of the board's vote continued its relationship with Churchill for the next year, but Churchill, which opted not to apply for a license to operate a racino at Arlington, has failed to commit – in any meaningful way – to Illinois racing.