Arlington International Racecourse will open its 2016 season on May 6, the day before the Kentucky Derby and two days before Mother's Day.
Arlington officials applauded the Illinois Racing Board's decision this week to award Arlington 74 live racing days for the season. Hawthorne Racecourse will feature a 65-day season in 2016, down from 83 racing days.
Record day for jockeyLongtime local jockey Francisco Torres scored the 3,000 win of his career on Friday when Hawthorne Racecourse opened its fall-winter meet.
The race: Torres, who grew up in the Chicago area and rode locally for much of the 1980s and 1990s, guided 3-year-old colt Court's Ruling to victory in the third race. Torres ranks among the top 40 riders in all-time wins at Arlington, where he won multiple stakes races.
The quote: "I want to take this opportunity to thank all the owners and trainers that allowed me to get to this milestone," said Torres in a statement released by track officials. "From the bottom of my heart I want to thank all of you. This means a lot to me.
"It's been a wonderful journey. I can't even begin to tell you how great it is to come back here and get my 3,000 win where I started."
-- John Leusch
"The Illinois Racing Board has taken a major step in the revitalization of the Illinois horse racing industry by approving a new business plan submitted jointly by Arlington International Racecourse and Hawthorne Racecourse," said Arlington president Tony Petrillo.
"This business plan will not substitute for the gaming bills that are so extremely important to the industry, but it is a start to move the industry forward."
From opening day until July 2, Arlington will have live action three days per week on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There will also be live racing on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30). From July 3 through Aug. 31, racing will be conducted four days per week on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and a special racing card on Monday, July 4.
From Sept. 1 through Sept. 29, racing will return to three days per week on Fridays and Saturdays with the third day to be either Thursday or Sunday. There will also be live racing on Labor Day, Sept. 5. Closing day for the meet will either be Sept. 24 or Sept. 25, depending on the decision to race on Thursdays or Sundays.
Arlington finished its 77-day 2015 meet one week ago with trainer Larry Rivelli, jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr. and owner Vince Foglia's Patricia's Hope LLC claiming the individual championships.
It was Rivelli's third title at Arlington. He won with a personal-best 72 wins, easily breaking his mark of 59 wins in 2014. He became only the second trainer to win 70 or more races at Arlington. Wayne Catalano has done it three times.
Rivelli won with 30 percent of his starters and was in the money 62 percent of the time. Runner-up Scott Becker also had a stellar meet, winning at 29 percent while in the money 58 percent of the time.
Valdivia, a Breeders' Cup and Belmont Stakes winner, rode full time at Arlington for the first time. He won 80 races to top runner-up Mitchell Murrill (72).
Vince Foglia's Patricia's Hope LLC stable won 48 races for its first leading owner title at any racetrack.