Illinois Racing Board Approves 2006 Schedule

Arlington Park will run from May 5 to Sept. 14 next year, a total of 95 racing dates under the schedule announced by the Illinois Racing Board.

Racing in Illinois for the 2006 calendar opens Feb. 24 at Hawthorne Race Course, where the National Jockey Club meet runs for 49 race days before Arlington takes over. Hawthorne will race a total of 80 days in 2006, with its fall meet running Sept. 15 to Dec. 31.

In addition, the IRB designated Arlington Park as the host track for simulcasting during the dark days when there is no Thoroughbred racing in Illinois from Jan. 3 to Feb. 8.

Fairmount Park, at the track's request, reduced its season from 142 days this year to 90 in 2006.

The first two days of the 2006 Arlington racing season will include simulcasts from Churchill Downs of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on May 5 and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) the following day. The following weekend on May 14, Mother's Day returns to Arlington Park after a two-year absence.

Arlington Park started its 94-day season on May 11 in 2005 and ended its run Sept. 18.

"While licensees seldom receive what they request, we are disappointed not to be allotted more host time when there is no Thoroughbred racing in Illinois," said Cliff Goodrich, Arlington Park's president. "Also, given our unmatched growth in average daily attendance, we would like to have seen more live days in September."

Goodrich said he was pleased that the racing board granted Arlington dates that coincided with the Kentucky races and returned Mother's Day to the schedule.