Today, July 30, was the deadline for racetracks to request racing dates for the 2022 season. The Illinois Racing Board published these requests a short time ago. Click here. Illinois Racing Board Receives Three Applications for Race Dates in 2022 It is very important to understand that these requests are often amended before the actual dates hearing which is scheduled for Thursday, September 23.
Hawthorne has requested 365 days of harness racing and 365 days of t-bred racing. They requested this simply because they did not know of Arlington’s plan for next year. Obviously they can’t be racing this schedule but the way the dates are requested, you can withdraw part of your dates request but you cannot add dates afterwards. So they played it safe because of Arlington Park’s uncertain commitment to the future.
Arlington Park, as expected and feared, has requested zero racing dates for 2022. So unless Arlington and Churchill Downs have a trick up their sleeve, there will be no racing there in 2022.
So what does it all mean for us?
In the past few months we have had preliminary discussions with Hawthorne and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen on sharing Hawthorne in 2022. Now that we know Arlington is officially not in the mix, we will all meet and try and come up with a schedule that works for everyone. We will try and get as many days as possible, including as many summer dates as possible. It is critical to our breeding industry that the two-year-olds have a sufficient opportunity to get their stakes season in.
This current situation highlights how critical the need for another Illinois racetrack. We will continue to work with everyone who shows interest in getting this done. Hawthorne management has assured us that they are very interested in that second racetrack and casino and understands that time is of the essence here. We will keep everyone informed as this progresses. Thanks. Hang in there.