The Illinois Racing Board has approved 439 racing days in the state for 2010, it was announced Sept. 24. The total, which includes 91 live programs at Arlington Park and 109 at Hawthorne Race Course, is the least amount the board has ever issued, spokesperson Mickey Ezzo said.
“We’re down slightly, indicative of the economic times,” Ezzo said. “The tracks and horsemen presented a schedule to the board that they all agreed upon, taking into account the budgetary limits of the racing board and the many challenges the industry is facing. We feel like these dates are a workable solution.”
The dates, approved at the regularly scheduled meeting of the IRB in Chicago, encompass Thoroughbred racing at Arlington, Hawthorne, and Fairmount Park, and harness racing at Balmoral Park and Maywood Park.
This year, Hawthorne was awarded 112 racing dates and Arlington 98.
Arlington, which wraps up its 2009 racing season Sept. 27, will offer live racing from April 28-Sept. 28, 2010. The track will follow its current four-day per week schedule, dark Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, except for live racing May 31, July 5, and Sept. 6.
Hawthorne’s racing dates will include Jan. 1- 2; the winter/spring meet that runs Feb. 12-April 27, and the fall/winter meet that beings Sept. 29 and runs through Dec. 31. The 2009 Hawthorne fall/winter meet begins Oct. 1.
Upstate racing dates total 200, while 52 racing days downstate at Fairmount are scheduled for April 27-Aug. 24. Fairmount was granted 78 racing programs in 2009 but ended its meet in August rather than September because of a lack of purse money.
All Illinois tracks are awaiting release of a casino subsidy that has been tied up in court for more than a year.