02/13/2013 5:34PM

Arlington: Dispute arises from track's desire to charge for stall space


A dispute between Arlington Park, the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and the Illinois Racing Board has arisen over language Arlington used on an application for stall space at the track’s 2013 race meet.

The mention of stall rent at a track -- like Arlington --owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated is a hot-button topic because of a similar situation at Calder Race Course in Florida, another CDI track which has seen stall-rent disputes between management and horsemen.

The section of the Arlington stall application that drew protest stated that “stall rent may be imposed on trainers that do not average one start per stall or on a horse which runs at another racetrack in a race and condition that Arlington offers and runs."

Mike Campbell, the president of the ITHA, said charging for stall rent during a race meet “goes against the historic understanding of who pays for what in horseracing in North America.”

A stall-rent charge during a race meet is not permitted under Illinois racing law, according to Marc Laino, the executive director of the Illinois Racing Board.

“That’s my reading of the rule,” Laino said. “It’s being interpreted differently by different people.”

Arlington contends the IRB approved the stall-application language as part of the track’s 2013 racing dates application.

Arlington has posted on its website several news bulletins pertaining to the stall application. The most recent, from Feb. 10, said: “… the language in the stall application regarding stall rent only pertains to those who use the facility for training only and ship their horses from Arlington to run elsewhere while same (sic) races are running at Arlington. The policy is designed to protect the horsemen that do enter and run in Arlington.”

Laino said the IRB planned to talk to Arlington about the issue later Wednesday. “There are a lot of issues, and it could come down to rule interpretation,” he said.