Bob Kieckhefer

Illinois Harness Tracks Impacted by Entry Box Boycott

The Jan. 2 closing-day Thoroughbred program at Hawthorne Race Course may be the last live racing action of any kind in the Chicago area for a while. A dispute over purses has resulted in cancellation of harness racing at Balmoral Park and Maywood Park on the first two days of the New Year.

Illinois Governor Floats Idea of Gaming Expansion

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, after long opposition, has opened the door to the expansion of gaming. But his education-funding proposal doesn't specifically include the new casinos and support for racetracks that would make it politically viable in the state House and Senate.

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.

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