Arlington Racecourse kicks off final horse racing season Friday – NBC Chicago

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On Friday, Arlington International Racecourse kicked off what is likely the track’s final horse racing season.

The track kicks off its 2021 season with opening day on Friday, followed by Kentucky Derby day on Saturday. This year’s racing season could be the last for the facility, as the owners of Arlington Racecourse have announced plans to sell the property to a developer.

According to a press release from Churchill Downs Incorporated, the 326-acre property in suburban Arlington Heights will be sold, and the company selling the property will aim to find a buyer to redevelop it.

“Arlington’s ideal location in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, coupled with direct access to downtown Chicago via an on-site Metra train station, presents a unique redevelopment opportunity. We expect to see strong interest in the site and look forward to working with potential buyers, in conjunction with the Village of Arlington Heights, to move this historic location into its next phase,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI.

The race track will host its full calendar of dates from April 30 to September 25. The sale is not expected to close until the end of the racing schedule, and the company says any sale is unlikely to impact the schedule.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, race days this season will not include live entertainment events, family days, or on-the-go items. The racetrack will also have a limited capacity and face covering requirement.

Tickets go on sale for the race days of the month following the second Wednesday of each month. To buy tickets, click here.

The track has been a Chicago-area staple for nearly a century and opened in 1927.

It briefly closed in 1998 and 1999, but reopened in 2000 after Churchill Downs Incorporated purchased the track and renamed it Arlington Park. It changed its name to Arlington International Racecourse in 2013.

The track owners say they will aim to transfer its racing license to another community in the state of Illinois.

“We are exploring potential options with the state and other constituents, and remain optimistic that solutions can be found that work for the state, local communities and the thousands of Illinoisans who make a living directly or indirectly. through thoroughbred horse racing,” Carstanjen said.

Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said the city plans to “encourage exciting new use” for the property.

“While the Village does not own or control the property, we will work with CDI and CBRE to encourage exciting new use that takes advantage of the uniqueness of the property with the goal of putting it to its best use,” Hayes said. said in a statement. “Certainly anything that is permitted by our zoning and land use regulations is on the table to include some type of mixed-use or single-use development such as an entertainment venue or a sports stadium.”

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