Jim O'Donnell: Handicapping the Arlington Park land sale -- Good luck!

  • Neil Bluhm is chairman of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

    Neil Bluhm is chairman of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Courtesy of Midwest Gaming Holdings

  • Chicago 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan.

    Chicago 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan. Associated Press

  • Jeff Bezos is chief executive of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post.

    Jeff Bezos is chief executive of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Updated 6/30/2021 7:03 PM

TRYING TO PICK THE WINNER of the impending sale of the Arlington Park land is such a bittersweet pursuit.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker told Chris Placek of The Daily Herald there will be no state money for a new Bears stadium.


"Bunker Bill" Carstanjen and Churchill Downs Inc. could make the announcement at any hour so chosen.

Crafty Neil Bluhm -- partnered with CDI in the Des Plaines/Rivers casino -- has a formidable inside post.

And lurking in the shadowy paws is wizardly Bears minority owner Pat Ryan.

So, in a perfectly balanced morning line with zero takeout (thank you Ray Hallett, Elmer Polzin and Dave Surico), odds and comments on "The Buy Arlington Derby":

All others, 6-5 -- Always the great default in Kentucky Derby futures pools, so why not here? ... Strong suspicion CDI wants to slots block the Bears and any other entity that would eventually bring gaming to the grand pasture.

Bluhm, or a Bluhm nominee, 3-1 -- Few know the more sophisticated streams of profit in major Chicago real estate as well as the 83-year-old tycoon. ... Anyone else think Bluhm also knows to the penny what bid has to be credibly topped?

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The Bears with current majority ownership, 4-1 -- Critical tell: Ted Phillips and the McCaskey family went out on an extraordinary limb by publicizing their bid. ... They didn't have to do that. ... If they fail, the rabid Bears fan base gets years of new fodder for derision.

The Bears with new majority ownership, 12-1 -- High odds because sale of the Bears and purchase of AP land would have to happen in bang-bang manner. ... Unless new Bears majority owner was shrewd enough to slide his/her own nominee into CDI bidding process.

Jeff Bezos, 40-1 -- No fun not to include centi-billionaire, so why not? ... Elon Musk and the late Secretariat would both also go up at similar odds. ... All evidence still says the NFL wants Bezos more than he wants the NFL.

Endeavor Properties, LLC, 99-1 -- Only confirmed bidder to date other than the Bears. ... And group wants to keep it as a racetrack. ... Diabolical giggles from Louisville can be heard all the way to the fly swatters in AP's dank track kitchen.


Thank you, and good racing!

THE PASSING OF MARTYL REINSDORF -- the wife of Jerry Reinsdorf -- is being both mourned and celebrated as a life filled with giving.

The artsy Mrs. Reinsdorf was there every step of the way, from George Washington University forward, during her 65-year marriage to the chairman of both the White Sox and the Bulls.

Selflessness was in her pedigree: Her mother -- the late Mrs. Vivette Rifkin -- founded Educational Tape Reading for the Blind out of her Chicago home with a $500 loan in 1965.

STREET-BEATIN': Chris Chelios has signed to work alongside Mark Messier on ABC/ESPN's No. 1 studio team when the NHL's new network alignments face off next season. TNT is countering with lead ace Wayne Gretzky, if the personality implant takes. ...

The white-hot dice of Jason Benetti continue: The versatile broadcast sponge will serve as NBC's top baseball announcer for games from the Tokyo Olympics starting later in July. (He'll work off monitors at the network's Connecticut broadcast center.) ...

Those rumbles about talented Tom Waddle filling the diminished No. 1 sportscaster slot at WLS-Channel 7 won't go away. But at age 54, does ol' No. 87 really want to do a daily tiptoe through the drooping hornet's nest? ...

On the subject of man's inhumanity to TV viewers, the closing seconds of some 2021 NBA playoff telecasts would try the patience of a cloistered nun on twilight anesthesia. The final 9.2 seconds of the LAC-PHO WC Finals Game 2 -- capped by Deandre Ayton's spectacular alley-oop winner -- took 20 minutes to play in real time. ...

Historians still aren't sure if P.T. Barnum really said, "There's a sucker born every minute." But any sapling who pays the $37.50 for a single seat to watch fireworks at the sagging Arlington Park this weekend certainly qualifies. ...

Also from the Fourth of July dossier, Steve Skiber reports that the Arlington Heights American Legion Hall will be open for full food, music and drinks directly adjacent to "Frontier Days Lite" beginning Thursday. That's the fabled Post 208 where mythic baseball coach Lloyd Meyer helped produce such stars as Paul Splittorff, Dave Kingman and Tom Lundstedt. ...

And NBC studio analyst Anson Carter, on the stellar defensive play of Tampa Bay at the blue lines during the Stanley Cup Finals: "The Montreal Canadiens are going to have an easier time getting back across the Canadian border."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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