03/07/2014 4:40PM

Arlington Park to offer Illinois-bred bonuses


Arlington announced Friday it would offer purse bonuses to Illinois-bred horses in a variety of races at its upcoming 2014 race meet.

Arlington, making the announcement jointly with the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, will pay Illinois-breds up to $1,000 for finishing first through fourth in a race not restricted to Illinois-breds. A horse could earn up to $600 in bonus money for winning such a race, money that will be added to existing purse incentives for Illinois-breds competing in open races at the $10,000 claiming level and higher.

Arlington also will card a minimum of two Illinois-bred races per day through the new arrangement with the ITBOF, a release said. Races restricted to Illinois-breds also will offer purses between $1,000 to $2,000 higher than open races with similar conditions, the release said, a reversal of Arlington’s longstanding purse structure.

Finally, the release said Arlington will institute a series of starter-allowance races restricted to Illinois-breds.

The Illinois-bred purse enhancements are meant to stimulate a flagging breeding industry in the state. The Illinois foal crop, once one of the most robust in the Midwest, has declined precipitously during the last decade.