Some Overlap in Illinois Dates Requests
Requests for 2009 racing dates in Illinois show a few overlaps, including a month between Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course in late summer and early fall.
Dates requests for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing were submitted to the Illinois Racing Board by July 31. The board has scheduled its dates meeting for Sept. 15.
According to an IRB document, Arlington is seeking 112 days from May-Oct. 12. Racing would be held four days a week from May 1-July 7 (Thursday through Sunday), and five days a week from July 8-Oct. 12 (Wednesday through Sunday).
Hawthorne has asked to hold Thoroughbred meets from Jan. 1-11, Feb. 27-May 3, and Sept. 11-Dec. 31 for a total of 131 days. Racing would be held five days a week (Thursday through Monday) in the winter and spring, and five days a week (Wednesday through Sunday) in late summer, fall, and early winter.
The overlaps fall on the weekend of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in May, and from mid-September through mid-October. This year, Arlington closes Sept. 21 and Hawthorne opens Sept. 26.
Hawthorne, which just concluded a 39-night Standardbred meet, has requested 78 racing dates for 2009. It would hold harness races six nights a week from June 1-Aug. 31. That plan conflicts with those of Balmoral Park and Maywood Park, which propose to race year-round, four nights per week at Balmoral (207 dates) and two nights per week at Maywood (102 dates). Balmoral and Maywood have common ownership.
The IRB traditionally opts for no overlap in Thoroughbred or harness racing schedules at tracks in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Fairmount Park, meanwhile, has submitted its customary broad application to race up to 150 Thoroughbred programs from Jan. 1-Dec. 31. The downstate track not far from St. Louis, Mo., has trimmed dates in recent years; for 2008, the IRB permitted Fairmount to offer 60 programs from April 15-Sept. 1 with racing three days per week.
Fairmount dropped fall/winter harness racing earlier in the decade because of declining revenue.
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