Illinois Board Starts 2014 Dates Deliberation

Illinois Board Starts 2014 Dates Deliberation
Photo: Four Footed Fotos
Arlington Park

Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course will outline competing proposals for 2014 racing at a Sept. 11 hearing before the Illinois Racing Board.

The dates proposals from Arlington and Hawthorne overlap and will need to be reconciled. The major issue, however, is likely to be the awarding of simulcast revenue for dates when there is no live racing in the Chicago area.

Arlington has asked for that revenue for the period from Jan. 1-Feb. 28. Hawthorne has requested the money from Jan. 1-Feb. 13, with a request to begin live racing Feb. 14.

The tracks fought bitterly over the allocation of the so-called "dark days" revenue for 2013, and the IRB required two votes before it could settle on a compromise solution that moved several days from Arlington to Hawthorne.

IRB staff said after last year's hearing that each dark day of revenue means about $50,000 for the host track purse account and $27,000 in administrative benefit.

The hearing will be before an examiner appointed by the board and will "address preliminary matters" related to the following week's official board meeting. IRB executive director Marc Laino said no decision or recommendation will result from the preliminary hearing. Rather, he said, it will clear the way for deliberation and a vote a week later.

This year, Arlington asked to run from April 21-Oct. 7, operating four days per week.

Arlington chairman Richard L. Duchossois said this year's decision will be "a game-changer for the industry–up or down," but declined to elaborate regarding the Churchill Downs Inc.-owned track's plans.

Hawthorne officials did not comment on their application.

Hawthorne requested live racing three days per week from Feb. 14-Feb. 28 and four days per week from March 1-May 10. The track asked for a five-days-per-week fall meet from Oct. 1-Dec. 31.

Fairmount Park, in downstate Collinsville, requested 150 racing programs to be run throughout the year.

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