Sportsman's Park will offer a $1-million bonus for any horse that wins next year's $500,000 Illinois Derby and then goes on to win any Triple Crown race in the subsequent months. The Illinois track released its $2.1-million stakes schedule Tuesday.
The Illinois Racing Board has awarded Arlington Park a 109-date racing season for 2002 that will start the week of the Belmont Stakes and culminate with the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships -- possibly at Arlington.
Illinois tracks appear to be in general agreement on the proposed 2002 racing schedule
Winstar Farms' License Fee was allowed to set a moderate pace and then drew away to a five-length victory in Sunday's $300,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Sportsman's Park. Under Larry Melancon, License Fee completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.11 on a fast track. She earned $180,000 for the win, her 14th in 40 career starts, to boost her career earnings past the $1 million mark.
The National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) was a puzzle just waiting to be assembled by Guided Tour at Sportsman's Park on April 22. The out-of-town star was supposed to ship in, overcome the challenge of invading speedster Duckhorn, add another $120,000 to his earnings, and leave everybody else in the field of five to cash their checks. Puzzle solved. All the pieces were in place -- until a stout-hearted Illinois-bred named Chicago Six scattered the preordained solution all over the drying-out racetrack.
In 2000, Sportsman's Park suffered from its conversion to a dual-use facility for horse and motor sports racing. With sight lines and other fan amenities compromised, attendance and handle sagged. To address the problems, Sportsman's Park spent several million dollars during the past year to improve its facility, then implemented an extensive fan outreach program to show off the changes.
The road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runs through...Cicero, Illinois? That's the untested theory that has Dogwood Stable chief Cot Campbell and trainer Todd Pletcher scratching their heads after their late-developing colt Distilled rolled to a convincing 1 3/4-length victory in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) on April 7.
The state-of-the-art drainage system at Sportsman's Park fell victim to a late-season snowstorm that forced cancellation of racing after the second race on Friday (March 16) and the entire St. Patrick's Day card on Saturday.
Full fields, reasonably good weather and a flock of new fan amenities greeted the opening of the Chicago-area racing season Friday at Sportsman's Park. The combination drew on-track attendance of 5,281, up sharply from last year's opening-day crowd of 4,224, a Sportsman's spokesman said.
Brief items on racing and breeding.
Ed Duffy, chief operating officer for the National Jockey Club, has decided to relinquish the day-to-day control of operations at Sportsman's Park/Chicago Motor Speedway in order to concentrate on and devote more time to other aspects of the multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility.
After years as a haven for horses not quite ready for prime time, the 2001 Illinois Derby will be a prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Since the Illinois Racing Board decreed that that May and early June racing will be conducted at Hawthorne Race Course, Sportsman's was forced to find a new date for its race. Tuesday, the IRB approved April 7 as the day and $500,000 as the purse.
The Illinois Racing Board has approved a 2001 schedule that will facilitate the merger between Arlington International Racecourse and Churchill Downs but shuffles the deck for Sportsman's Park and Hawthorne Race Course, forcing rescheduling of their signature races.
The National Jockey Club, which last year converted Sportsman's Park to a dual purpose horse racing-automobile racing track, planned to announce Tuesday a two-year, multi-million dollar improvement plan.
The removable track built over an asphalt auto-racing surface for Sportsman's Park's 2000 horse racing meet turned out to be extraordinarily kind to horses, according to a state veterinarian.
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