Still no deal for Arlington Park

By Jim O’Donnell
Updated 6/8/2020 8:05 AM

One day after holding a refereed negotiating session Saturday, representatives of Arlington Park and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association were unexpectedly back at it Sunday.

And once again, the two sides failed to reach agreement on a contract to conduct live racing at the legacied oval this summer.


The six-member Illinois Racing Board will meet to assess the moving dynamic via WebEx on Monday at 10 a.m.

Sunday, it was a limited three-hour teleconference, again steered by noncombatants Tom McCauley and Dominec DiCera of the IRB.

The primary obstacle remains that management of the Churchill Downs Inc. property wants a two-year pact that would include resumption of the Million, the Beverly D. and other stakes races next year.

The two organizations already have agreed upon a 30-day meet beginning in July or August with the backstretch opening 30 days before the first race and suspension of all stakes races this season.

Because of the uncertain economic times and their impact on the track's daily purse structure, ITHA president Mike Campbell and associates are holding their ground on a one-year deal.

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If no contract is announced at Monday's meeting, the IRB could order concentrated negotiations to continue and the matter to be considered again at its regular monthly meeting on June 18.

One principal referred to the weekend sessions as "frustrating" and "disappointing." A second added that "conversations" about the impasse between AP management and the ITHA were continuing via assorted electronica into Sunday night.

Initial discussion on a 2020 agreement began last summer.

By state racing law, a deal should have been in place no later than Dec. 31.

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