Is there still a pulse to thoroughbred racing in Arlington Park?
Dim for sure, but that could mean more live thoroughbred racing at Arlington Park.
Since the Universal Guru is widely seen as a prime candidate for the last rites, please keep all group cards.
The Daily Herald has learned that a very well-resourced business-to-business liaison has begun with senior management of the Chicago Bears that could have them race around the local oval at least until 2026.
Most importantly, the bears are said to listen.
The group’s plan centers on a four-year proposal to resume live racing on a limited scale in the summer of 2023.
However, in response to a public inquiry about the matter on Wednesday, Scott Hagel – Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Bears Corporation – said: “We are conducting due diligence on the property and are not pursuing any horse racing opportunities available on the site.”
But the site is being monitored.
Chasers are a seasoned and persuasive mix.
According to the projected schedule since the announcement of the purchase and sale agreement between Bears and Churchill Downs Inc. On September 29, 2023, it will be the first summer the team controls on AP territory.
If the Bears agree to the idea—either lease the 32-year-old main building and the necessary land or sell the plant and part of the 326-acre site—then the consortium will likely expand further in April—during September the livestream meets in 2024. and 2025 and 2026.
Then, by the time of the 2027 hearing at the Illinois Racing Board in September 2026, who knows what could happen in the evolving landscape of sports and games in Illinois?
While the new group is willing to accept operating losses as sponsors of Arlington Racing Arts, this is not necessarily a financial certainty.
If the bottom line of live racing operations and active accessories is the only criterion, then live racing in Arlington continues to turn a profit.
This is despite the fact that AP’s last season was enforced by COVID-related attendance limits, essential staff and a pervasive sense of doom and farewell.
The fledgling federation has also developed a plan to operate the racetrack in precise synchronization with the potential courses of action needed to build the new George S. Halas Stadium in time for its summer 2027 opening.
The group network is said to include:
• The demolition of the back of the current Arlington.
• Build a smaller, more efficient stable area along Euclid Street. And,
• Extinction of the training path that currently occupies the extreme northwest corner of the AP’s sprawling trapezoid.
HALAS STADIUM is expected to be built in that northwest section.
The stadium and adjacent arenas are expected to require approximately 30 acres. There will also likely be another 60 acres for parking and up to an additional 20 acres for an enhanced aesthetic.
The optimum area for the revitalized Arlington Park is expected to be 125 acres. This will include leaving the main building, the basic industrial oval and the one-mile grass track intact.
But if the race continues after Hallas Stadium opens, the ground requirements for the track could be reduced, mainly due to shared parking and consistent scheduling.
The emerging consortium was not a bidder in the operation CBRE operated for Churchill Inc earlier this year.
He also has no plans to look for any kind of casino or supplemental games at this time if his offer is accepted by the Bears.
Whether by lease or purchase, the group’s initiative will represent the Bears’ first return on an investment expected to total approximately $2.7 billion in stadium costs.
There is no doubt that Arlington’s newest racing lifeboat is facing some perilous waves.
Above all is the fact that CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen has repeatedly declared that live racing is dead in AP.
This was one reason industry analysts rejected the formal offer made by former AP chief Roy Arnold and Endeavor Properties LLC – the only stated hope that would have kept the race in the luxury location.
It is unknown whether CDI can now collapse the main building or whether the option to perform that unfortunate task will contractually pass to the bears.
If the main building is demolished, the new group has a revised bid for the NFL team. This will include the construction of a temporary runway and other transit facilities, including a backhaul.
It was this kind of dynamism that enabled Dick Duchossuis and his partners Sheldon Robbins, Ralph Ross and Joe Joyce to host the “Miracle of a Million” in August 1985. The memorable event took place 24 days after a fire destroyed the old main building.
The quad race followed the big 13-day “International Racing Festival” in the late summer of 1986.
One year later, Duchossois became the sole owner after his partners purchased. He and a lively staff had a somewhat rustic “tent get-together” all season long.
In 1988, the path was closed for reconstruction. The Million was held that summer at Toronto’s Woodbine Racecourse.
Arlington reopened in June 1989 only to be closed by Duchosoa Strategies in 1998-1999. It reopened in May 2000 and announced a “merger” with CDI later that year.
Temporary facilities can buy fans for another four years of racing in AP.
It is believed that the purchase and sale agreement between Bears and Churchill Inc. Still in the “lawyer stage”.
CDI announced a selling price of $197.2 million on September 29. He is expected to be referred to Thursday morning when Karstangen hosts his foundation’s third-quarter investor conference call.
In conjunction with the “lawyer stage” is the beginning of the “master planning stage”.
This is a soil-moving dialogue between bears and officials in Arlington Heights Village about the full scope and future uses of the 326-acre property.
A breakdown in this channel could mean that the bears are not buying and the bears are not moving.
It may also mean the letter “L” written in crimson letter – as in “Loss” – in the permanent civic resume of Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, Village Manager Randy Reclaus, and Charles Witherington-Perkins, City’s Director of Planning and Community Development. .
In an August interview with racing journalist Ron Flatter, Hayes said in particular that the residential component of the redeveloped land would be “negligible.”
So far, the truth is that a group of clever operators with enormous resources and a proven track record of networking with top management bears. Resuming racing at Arlington Park alongside the new football giant would be a godsend to Hayes, staff and village trustees.
As the Mayor of Arlington Heights told Christopher Bleske to the Daily Herald on June 19:
“Certainly in an ideal world, you would love to see bears and horse racing (on the grounds of Arlington Park). The only question is whether you should at least partially demolish the existing runway or remodel it. … Just worry about trying to do both.”
The new group of aspiring dreamers don’t care. Its core has long-standing ties to Carstangen’s top allies and CDI in Illinois and at least one member of the Bears hierarchy.
Some would say they have a way of getting things done.
Is this pulsing?
Dim and faded?
Or the sound of a new era of enlightenment for NFL orphans retuning and a potential new savior for one of the most brilliant racetracks in the game’s history?
• Jim O’Donnell’s Sports and Media column appears on Thursday and Sunday. You can reach him at [email protected]