08/29/2006 11:00PM

Illinois names commissioner

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Angelo "Sam" Ciambrone has been named a commissioner on the Illinois Racing Board by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, replacing the influential commissioner John Simon, whose six-year term of service had expired.

Simon is the second significant departure from the board this year. Earlier, the term of Ralph Martinez, once the board's chairman, also expired.

Ciambrone, an attorney, served as a racing commissioner from from 1976 through 1980.

The replacement of Simon and Martinez could change the balance of power on the board, since both were part of a faction that opposed chairman Lorna Propes at a contentious 2004 meeting at which racing dates were awarded, and sometimes provided something of a counterweight to Arlington Park's significant power.

Racing dates for 2007 will be awarded at a board meeting later this month, during which the fate of the National Jockey Club may be decided. The NJC owes some $30 million on an outstanding loan that was purchased this summer by Arlington chairman Richard Duchossois's family-owned company, Duchossois Industries.