In a lawsuit filed last month, Arlington Park contends the Illinois Racing Board acted improperly when it seized 18 simulcast host days and awarded them to rival Hawthorne Race Course.
The IRB's decision, reached in a vote at its September meeting, followed a June decision by Churchill Downs Inc. to exclude the Illinois Derby (gr. III) from its new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points system that determines the Derby field through points earned in 36 races. CDI owns Arlington.
Arlington filed a complaint for judicial review against the IRB, Hawthorne Race Course, and others on Nov. 19 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill, Chancery Division. The complaint said the Illinois Racing Board delivered "improper punishment," when it voted in September to move 18 simulcast host days on dark racing days in January and February from Arlington and to Hawthorne.
The Ilinois Racing Board had no comment on the litigation.
In September, IRB members expressed disappointment about Churchill's decision to exclude the Illinois Derby in the new Kentucky Derby (gr. I) qualifying format. Commissioner Allan Monat said at the September meeting it was important for the IRB to do something to help the Illinois Derby retain its prominence.
Arlington Park contends it should have retained the simulcast host dates because of its better financial standing when compared with Hawthorne and its record of compliance with IRB regulations and procedures. Arlington also suggests the process by which the vote on the simulcast host dates was conducted improperly because after a 4-4 vote on the issue (at that time 14 simulcast host dates), 10 to 15 minutes of whispered deliberations followed. After those discussions, which Arlington said were not included in the minutes, Hawthorne received the 18 dates by a 6-2 vote.