Churchill Downs Incorporated, owner of numerous racetracks across the US and operator of the TwinSpires betting platform, is looking to sell Arlington International Racecourse. The 326 acre Arlington Heights, Illinois property will be brought to market by CBRE.
“Arlington’s ideal location in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, together with direct access to downtown Chicago via an on-site Metra rail station, presents a unique redevelopment opportunity. We expect to see robust interest in the site and look forward to working with potential buyers, in collaboration with the Village of Arlington Heights, to transition this storied location to its next phase,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “In the meantime, we are very committed to pursuing the relocation of Arlington’s racing license to another community in the Chicagoland area or elsewhere in the state. We are exploring potential options with the State and other constituents and remain optimistic that we can find solutions that work for the State, local communities and the thousands of Illinoisans who make their living directly or indirectly from thoroughbred horse racing. We are committed to the Illinois thoroughbred racing industry and will consider all options in working toward opportunities for it to continue into the future.”
Arlington International Racecourse has long been an Illinois staple, drawing horse race bettors from the Chicagoland area and beyond. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, I visited the track and placed a few bets myself. Arlington became a summer staple for my friends and family, and I’ll be sad to see it go.
If you can relate, there’s a bright side to the story. Churchill Downs reiterated its commitment to the 2021 race schedule in the same announcement that confirmed the property is up for sale. The track’s race dates from April 30 to September 25 are expected to carry on. Any sale of the property likely wouldn’t close prior to the final race anyway.
Illinois Horse Racing
Illinois horse race betting enthusiasts need not despair, though. The state still has Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney. That property is partnered with PointsBet, and the two companies have plans to build a casino onsite to bring more gaming options to Illinois and Indiana players.
Further south in the Prairie State, horse racing enthusiasts can visit Fairmount Park in Collinsville.
Of course, if you prefer online horse race betting, Illinois has various options, including Churchill Downs’ own TwinSpires platform.