Reader Mail Bag: Adieu To Arlington

The following is a collection of letters we’ve received from readers in recent days as the permanent closure of Arlington Park seems imminent. If you’d like to submit a letter to our editors, Please click/tap here.

Would create lots of controversy if I had written this in the former comments boxes you had, but the fall of Arlington Park (sorry I was never there) followed the only business rule under profit-oriented capitalism, which is always to endeavor to make the highest rate of profit you can get. It’s America’s real national religion.

Racing has declined to the point at which the large land areas, which most big tracks possess, is worth more if sold to real estate or developer interests. I fully expect downstate New York racing to go the same way one day. I always thought Aqueduct would go first, but I’m beginning to think Belmont might also be either shrunk dramatically or sold in total to developers. They certainly have declined horribly, both in terms of track accommodations and attendance. Back in the day, tracks were owned by sportsmen and women could never have foreseen this day — but unfortunately, it’s here.

–Michael Castellano
Racing fan since the 1960s

Hi Ray, Just wanted to say thank you for your piece about the bitter fall of Arlington.

(If you missed it, it’s available here.)

I, too, fell in love with racing there in the 1970s. Over the years, I got to see Secretariat, John Henry, and local legend Rossi Gold, and my cousin and I were present for the “Miracle Million.” I am absolutely heartsick about what has happened. It feels as if COVID-19 has stolen the present and the future, and now, even the past is being taken away.

–Lori Barron
Racing Fan

Hi Ray, Been a long time reader and appreciate the work you do! Just read your Arlington Park story “The Bitter End.” I live close by so it’s my home track. What you wrote is so perfect and spot on. When I first heard of this being the last year, my only thought was I need to go one last time. I’ve been asked a few times by friends but I can’t do it. It’s not only the bad management as you stated or Churchill Downs greed, it’s just to hard to see that beautiful place one last time knowing it’s coming down. My wife, my son, my friends have so many great memories and just wish we could continue them at Arlington. I know there are other great and fun tracks but there not close to me like Arlington. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and listening to mine.

–Tom Horak
Racing Fan

I’m not sure what your coverage has been about Arlington but I would suggest looking into the political side of the story based on the state refusing to allow slots for so many years I just believe CD got fed up and walked away. I wanted to blame CD at first glance, however “after further review“ I lay the blame on the crooked politicians of Chicago and the state.

As we say in the Midwest “everything in Chicago is fixed except the roads.”

–Thom Albright
Former owner and racing fan

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