11/28/2012 4:44PM

Arlington Park files suit against Illinois Racing Board over 2013 dates

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Arlington Park has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Racing Board alleging the board acted improperly in issuing its 2013 racing dates awards at a meeting in September.

The suit, filed with the Cook County Circuit Court, contends that the IRB acted punitively against Arlington when it switched 18 dark-host days next year from Arlington to Hawthorne, and that the board violated the Open Meetings Act when it issued dates awards at its Sept. 26 meeting.

Tracks earn a greater share of commissions and purse money during non-racing dark days when they are designated as the host track for simulcast betting, and the change in host-track status will shift hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue from Arlington to Hawthorne next year. The board changed the allotment of dark-host days after expressing concern over the decision of Churchill Downs Inc., Arlington’s parent company, to exclude the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne from its new Road to the Derby qualifying format for the Kentucky Derby. Arlington’s suit claims the IRB exceeded its statutory authority by acting to punish CDI through the shift of the dark-host dates.

Arlington’s complaint also alleges the IRB violated the rules for conducting open meetings when it allowed board members to speak to each other during a period between the board’s rejection of an initial dates awards proposal and the submission of a proposal that eventually passed.