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Arlington, Illinois Breeders Unveil Joint Incentive Program to Revitalize Illinois Racing

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/08/2014 #

Arlington International Racecourse and the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation (ITBOF) are pleased to announce a groundbreaking program designed to rebuild Illinois racing from its core – the breeders and the owners.


“An ITBOF board member has said that this memorandum of understanding represents the biggest benefit accorded the breeders and owners of Illinois than any other action taken by the ITBOF in his memory,” said IBTOF President Dan Sullivan. “I concur.”

“We need to show as much creativity as we can in order to find ways to reward our loyal Illinois breeders and owners. The first step was the union between the Illinois Breeders and Arlington to increase monies paid to breeders in any future gaming bill. The leadership of the ITBOF has been a pleasure to work with and we appreciate their dedication to Arlington and to Illinois racing,” said Arlington General Manager Tony Petrillo. “This is one of several of the next steps that need to be addressed to rebuild racing. It is exciting to think of the possibilities for Illinois racing in the future.”

Highlights of the program include:

  • A $1,000 bonus to Illinois owners and breeders whose horses finish first through fourth place in any open company race paid on a 60-20-15-5 sliding scale
  • Two (2) Illinois-bred races  offered per day
  • All Illinois-bred restricted races purses increased by $1,000 to $2,000 over its open counterpart

In addition, Arlington will card a series of Illinois-bred starter allowance races, participate in a stallion season auction and coordinate an advertising program to support the stallion series.

“To me this is the most important thing to happen for breeders in Illinois since the Horse Racing Act of 1975,” says prominent Illinois breeder and owner David Block. “This is the true beginning of some positives that we’ve never had before. We are looking forward to a real quality Arlington meet.”

“This is a great joint venture between Arlington and the Illinois Owners and Breeders to find a positive way to allow Illinois horses more opportunities which in turn makes Illinois horses more valuable,” said owner-breeder-trainer Tom Swearingen.  “This is a great start and hopefully we can build upon it moving forward.”

“I think it’s the best move in 30 years in Illinois as far as the breeders are concerned,” added owner-breeder-trainer John Haran.  “This is a lifeline for the breeders and owners in the state and we are all over the moon about this.  The Illinois races that have been proposed are really going to help the (breeding) program.”

“Incentives that come to the breeder, owner and trainer in this day and age will help re-fuel the industry in its time of need and these incentives hopefully will continue year to year to help rebuild the industry,” said breeder-owner-trainer Chris Block.

This joint venture, which will be in effect beginning with the Arlington racing season which runs from May 2 through Sept. 28, is the culmination of meetings between the two organizations and demonstrates the many positives that can be achieved.   We agree with David Block and together we can and will rebuild racing.