Racing set to begin next week after Arlington Park gets final nod of approval
An order granting belated racing dates to Arlington Park for this season received official ratification from the state Thursday.
Thoroughbreds will come spinning out of the turn, without spectators present, starting July 23, under the plan approved by the Illinois Racing Board. The track will host eight races per day, with post times at 2 p.m., on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 26.
Racing board members on Thursday unanimously ratified the plan, which followed months of contentious negotiations between track owners Churchill Downs Inc. and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, which represents horse owners and trainers.
To make wagers, bettors will need an online account with Churchill Downs or another online wagering site, or they must visit an off-track betting parlor with "in-and-out" wagering, including Trackside locations in Arlington Heights, Green Oaks, Hoffman Estates and Aurora.
Separately, the state board approved three racing officials for the Arlington season. Vincent Clark will work as steward, Dr. Christine Tuma as veterinarian and Jere Smith Jr. as paddock judge.
Clark is a former jockey who has been a longtime racing official in Kentucky and Ohio, according to the state. Tuma has extensive equine experience and has worked at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack in New York, while Smith began working as a racing official in Kentucky and Louisiana in 2019 after 38 years as a trainer.
Arlington's long-term future still remains in doubt, with Churchill so far committing only to keeping the gates open through 2021.