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updated: 9/26/2011 7:06 PM

Arlington Park will be open for business in '12

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Arlington Park will race in 2012.

GM Tony Petrillo said Monday that the local oval will open again, even as racetracks across the state face an uncertain future while Gov. Pat Quinn sits on a gambling bill that could save the state's horse racing industry.

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"We'll be racing next year," Petrillo said. "It's unequivocal."

The Illinois Racing Board will allocate 2012 dates Tuesday, with Arlington hoping to secure three nights of racing -- probably on Saturdays -- next summer.

"We had a really strong August and September and we're excited about 2012," Petrillo said. "We got a lot of national attention with the Arlington Million on WGN, and with the increase in purses from the (casino) impact fees we saw horses shipping in from other states and we remain optimistic that we can maintain that momentum."

There's no pretending that the industry is going to survive as a whole in Illinois without slots at the tracks, something that could happen with the swipe of a pen.

But the governor has made it clear he doesn't like the bill that already has passed through the Illinois House and Senate.

So the Illinois General Assembly, the elected officials representing the entire population of the state, has approved the legislation, but one person is holding it up and may ultimately put tracks out of business.

"We're still hopeful," Petrillo said. "We only know what we read in the papers, but the governor is obviously waiting for something he's more comfortable with, and maybe in a trailer bill he'll get what he needs."

The clock is ticking. It will take 18 to 24 months to build a facility if the bill is ever signed into law, assuming Arlington gets the cooperation of the gaming board and the process is expedited.

Of course, it's taken nearly 20 years just to get to this point, so it probably would be foolish to think anyone's going to rush to save horse racing.

It's personal

Ron Rivera admitted as much Monday when he told reporters in Carolina, "I'm not going to downplay it. People say it's another game, (but) it's not. They're all big. But this has a little personal meaning for me because it's Chicago."

The Carolina coach may not have the kind of personnel he had as defensive coordinator in San Diego, but you have to think he'll be coming after Jay Cutler early and often Sunday after he gets a look at the 2011 Bears' offensive line on film.

In August 2010 in the first preseason game, Rivera -- then with the Chargers -- blitzed six times in the first eight plays and on all four passing attempts by Cutler. The Bears' QB was sacked once and hit hard twice, and Lovie Smith got Cutler out of the game after one series.

The Bears whispered about it being unseemly because it felt like Rivera was trying to get revenge against former boss Lovie Smith, who dumped Rivera in a post-Super Bowl power play.

But Rivera said he was merely using the preseason as a chance to work on his blitz packages, something he also did the following week against Dallas.

Either way, with the Bears' protection problems and Greg Olsen's knowledge of the line and scheme, figure Rivera to be aggressive again.

And this time the Bears won't be able to whine about an opposing football team playing football.

Bottom of T.O.P.

It's no coincidence that in the last two games, the Bears have rushed the ball 24 times for 73 yards and lost by a combined score of 57-30 while losing the time of possession battle by an average of 36:51 to 23:09.

Worst stat

The Bears' top receivers, as listed on the depth chart, are Roy Williams and Devin Hester, who have a combined 11 catches and zero TDs. Undrafted rookie free agent Dane Sanzenbacher has 9 receptions and a team-leading 2 TDs.

The Bears say Williams is still hurting, but the effort he gave Sunday was so bad that it was worthy of being cut Monday. Of course, that's not likely when Williams was the team's headline, free-agent acquisition.

Ivan Boldirev-ing

Nice of the Blackhawks to entertain 79-year-old Ron Fedor last week, or perhaps it was the other way around. Fedor, a goaltender, took the ice after practice and faced shots from several Hawks players.

Now in his eighth decade of hockey, the Mount Prospect resident still dresses for a skate every Saturday morning at Johnny's IceHouse and intends to play past his 80th birthday next April.

Unlike Roberto Luongo, Depends are not considered standard equipment for this goaltender.

Money Ball II

Sportspickle.com with title suggestions for the sequel:

•"Losing 90 Games On A Budget.''

•"Where Are The Fans? Do They Not Appreciate BABIP?"

•"Carlos Gonzalez For A Half Year Of Matt Holliday. Ooops!"

The quote

Tackle Frank Omiyale on why the Bears can't run the ball: "I have no idea. I just know I have to do my job better.''

And finally

Emailer Bob K. "I'm just saying, if this is what you get in the second year of the Mike Martz offense, I don't want to see the third year.''

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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