Arlington Surveys Horsemen About 30-Day Meet In August And September

Officials at Arlington Park in suburban Chicago have begun surveying trainers about a possible 30-day race meet in August and September.

The nine-question survey cites the five-phase “Restore Illinois” plan submitted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on May 5, saying that “racing may be permitted in one of the final two phases of the reopening plan” developed in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Illinois is currently in phase two of the plan, with May 29 the earliest any region of Illinois could move into the third phase, if the rate of infection stabilizes or begins to decline. That would open up manufacturing, offices and personal service businesses (barbers, hair salons) with gatherings of up to 10 people, provided face coverings and social distancing are in place.

Phase four requires declining rate of infection, the availability of widespread testing for coronavirus, contact tracing and patient monitoring and would permit gatherings of up to 50 people, with bars, restaurants, gyms, theaters and childcare allowed to open with limited capacity.

Racetracks and OTB facilities are not specifically mentioned in the plan, although Pritzker did address horse racing in his regularly scheduled coronavirus briefing on May 13, saying racing may return “when it’s determined that there are rules that will keep everybody safe. That’s the most important thing.”

Horse racing interests have submitted plans for a reopening to government officials that address many safety concerns.

The survey asks whether trainers would commit to stabling and racing if Arlington is permitted to conduct a 30-day meet in August and September, then asks how many stalls would be requested, how much temporary housing will be needed for employees, and what states the employees will be coming from.

Arlington, which was approved for a 68-day meet and originally scheduled to open May 1, does not have a contract with the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. One of the issues is the availability and disbursement of purse money. Arlington, which stands to gain more than $4 million from horsemen’s funds because of the state’s recapture law, wants to include the track’s marquee Grade 1 races – the Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat Stakes – on the stakes schedule. The ITHA wants as much money as possible used for overnight purses and fears average daily purses will be under $100,000 when racing is resumed.

The post Arlington Surveys Horsemen About 30-Day Meet In August And September appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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