CDI Releases Statement About Arlington Press Box Incident

Two and a half weeks after it occurred, Churchill Downs, Inc. has finally released a statement about the press box debacle at Arlington Park on the eve of the track’s annual feature race, the $600,000 Mister D. Stakes, reports the Chicago Daily Herald.

Arlington president Tony Petrillo, buoyed by members of the security staff, cleared out the press box less than two hours after the feature race, while writers and photographers were trying to finish their assignments and send their stories and pictures to their respective publications. Petrillo even told one photographer, who happened to be on assignment for a Churchill Downs Inc. subsidiary, that she was “banned for life” from Arlington Park.

CDI’s statement blames the incident on an unspecified issue of “safety” and a “miscommunication,” but media members present at the time call that excuse “disingenuous.”

Tonya Abeln, a media relations spokesperson on the staff of CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen, sent the following statement to the Daily Herald:

“Following the running of the Mr. D. at Arlington Park, we are aware that there was behavior in the press box that was in direct violation of our Media Guidelines. The Media Guidelines ensure safe and responsible operations and help maintain decorum for all journalists to complete their job in a healthy, safe and respectful environment.

“Because this behavior compromised the safety of track personnel, a security team was dispatched to de-escalate the interaction. Part of the planned response was to reduce the number of people in the immediate area.

“During this fluid situation, in the early moments, the goal to have all credentialed media relocated to an alternative location at the track to finish their work was clearly miscommunicated. We regret this incident impacted several journalists’ work, even as we appreciate that the security team did what they felt was in the best interest of safety for those in the room.

“We share with Mr. Petrillo a deep admiration and appreciation for the work of journalists who chronicle, document and transfer the excitement of horse racing through their talents. This isolated incident is not a reflection of the values we place on that work and the relationships we share with those professionals.”

Read more at the Chicago Daily Herald.

The post CDI Releases Statement About Arlington Press Box Incident appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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