Letter To The Editor: Banding Together To Save Arlington Park

What if?

Literally millions of horseplayers, owners, breeders, fans, trainers, jockeys, and associated personnel believe that losing Arlington Park would be a grave loss for the sport.

So, I would propose that we millions of horse people band together and save the historic racetrack near Chicago.

The reader is probably asking where we lovers of Arlington Park and of racing would find the money to purchase the property from Churchill Downs Inc.

Looking at the popularity and success of the MyRacehorse group financing model, where very large numbers of people contribute small sums, it may be possible to attract a large group of fellow good sports to band together and collectively put up the financing for a purchase. For instance, if two million fans contributed $100 each, that would raise $200 million toward buying and running the track. And of course, fewer contributors are needed if a number of deep pockets show up. Surely, that would get the attention of the parent company.

If there are as many fans of Arlington Park and sport in Chicago as I believe, then I suggest an “Arlington Alliance” should be able to raise enough to purchase and operate the racetrack.

The first step would be to create an organization to accept those small-percentage investments and contributions, manage the flow of money, and to name a group of directors so that the Arlington Alliance could make a formal offer for the racetrack.

Once successful in the purchase, the Arlington Alliance would need to be organized and ready to reach agreements with horsemen’s and labor associations and work toward a sustainable model for operating racing so that it would provide quality sport with a robust level of purses.

If successfully recast in a fashion similar to the Keeneland Association, the Arlington Alliance could ensure quality racing in Chicago, while also benefitting the town of Arlington Heights and neighborhoods by preserving jobs and participating in community programs. An Arlington Park that is as committed to its city and neighbors as they were to its survival would make racing an integral part of the fabric of this great city for decades to come.

– Frank Mitchell, pedigree analyst, author and consultant

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