Arlington Racecourse Granted Race Dates for 2020

The future of the Arlington International Racecourse came down to a vote Tuesday - and the decision was unanimous. 

The Illinois Racing Board reconvened at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago to vote on 68 racing dates for 2020 at the racecourse, part of the northwest suburb since 1927. The group unanimously approved the dates, despite concerns over whether or not racing would continue in 2021. 

The track's parent company Churchill Downs had to prove to the board that it plans to continue racing after 2021.

Late last month, Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said at the time that horse racing at Arlington is guaranteed until 2021, after which the company may move to track to another location in Illinois.

The company added it would not seek a license to add casino gambling at the track. Carstanjen said state law requiring the track to dedicate a portion of casino earnings to racing purses makes placing casino games at the suburban Chicago track untenable.

Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes said losing the track would be devastating for the community, calling it the Chicago suburb’s largest employer and a major economic boost.

The board and Churchill Downs Inc. did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday's vote.

If the board had not voted to approve the schedule, that would mean the previous Saturday's events would have been the last at the Arlington Racecourse.

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