Sportsman's Park Suspends Auto Racing; Horses a Go

The 2002 Sportsman's Park Thoroughbred meet is expected to go on as scheduled even though Chicago Motor Speedway has decided to suspend auto racing this year.

The asphalt auto track at the Cicero, Ill., facility is converted for horse racing. This year's meet is set to begin March 1. Sportsman's Park officials told the Associated Press the decision to suspend auto racing won't affect Thoroughbred racing.

In a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Joe Kasperski, president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, indicated horsemen have no reason to believe the meet won't go on as scheduled. Sportsman's Park traditionally kicks off the live racing season in the Chicago area each year.

In recent months, Sportsman's Park officials have been talking with the ownerships of neighborning Hawthorne Race Course about some sort of consolidation, but it couldn't be determined how the latest turn of events would affect those discussions. Several years ago, when Sportsman's Park suspended horse racing to make its facility ready for car racing, Hawthorne absorbed the dates and those of Arlington, which was shuttered at the time.