Bob Kieckhefer

Illinois Deadlock a Problem for Racetrack Gaming

The Illinois Legislature missed its midnight May 31 adjournment deadline in a stalemate over the state's budget. The deadlock likely dooms efforts to expand gaming in the state, including slot machines or other revenue-producing plans for Illinois racetracks.

Arlington Seeks Earlier Opening Date For 2004

Arlington Park has asked the Illinois Racing Board for approval to open its 2004 season April 28, two weeks ahead of the track's traditional Mother's Day opener. If granted, the request would take the Kentucky Derby simulcast rights away from National Jockey Club, which hosted Derby Day this year during its spring meet at Hawthorne Race Course.

Illinois Harness Boycott Has Ramifications

An ongoing entry-box boycott by Illinois harness horsemen shut down live racing at Balmoral Park and Maywood Park for the first two weeks of 2003, with no end in sight and potential implications for the scheduled resumption of Thoroughbred racing in March.

Illinois Budget Woes Bring About Purse Cuts

Illinois racing took a multimillion-dollar hit as Gov. George Ryan sliced up this year's overall state appropriations bill to deal with a budget crisis. Among the items cut by Ryan was money for the "recapture" of purse money.

Racetrack Slots Not Dead Yet in Illinois

No one in Illinois government seems to like the idea of slot machines at racetracks, but the proposal remained on the table as the legislature's spring session went into overtime in an attempt to find new revenue sources to solve a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall.

On the Other Hand

Bob Kieckhefer -- Illinois racing. It's hard to figure out where to start thinking about the current state of affairs. Harder yet to figure out where things are going.

Sportsman's Park Officials Say Live Meet is Safe

National Jockey Club officials assured the Illinois Racing Board Wednesday that the Sportsman's Park horse racing meet set to begin March 1 is not threatened by financial problems that have closed the organization's Chicago Motor Speedway for the year. In other business, the board began the process of changing some state regulations to facilitate the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park this fall.

Chicago Casino Deal in the Works?

MGM Mirage could take over efforts to build a riverboat casino in Rosemont, Ill., near O'Hare International Airport that would pump tens of millions of dollars into the horse racing industry.

Hong Kong Report: Japanese Successes

In the week leading up to the Hong Kong International Races, the buzz during morning track works at the Sha Tin Racecourse was that Japan would have a very good day on Sunday. No kidding. Four races were run. Three times, the Japanese national anthem followed the winning ceremony, capped by the victory of Agnes Digital in the HK$18 million Hong Kong Cup.

Sportsman's Rewarded With Double-Digit Business Gains

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.

Struggling Fairmount Waits on Legislature

Fairmount Park's live meet, delayed more than a month by a crippling purse dispute, is finally under way. But the future of the track, located just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo., is in the hands of the Illinois legislature.

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