Updated on 09/16/2011 9:15AM

Propes ousted from Illinois board


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The constitution of the Illinois Racing Board changed yet again this week with the dismissal of longtime board member Lorna Propes.

An 11-year member of the IRB, Propes was dismissed from the board this week by outgoing Illinois Gov. George Ryan, who replaced her with Robert Winchester. Winchester, a deputy chief of staff for Ryan, has no background in the horse racing industry.

Propes's departure marks the fourth change to the IRB this summer. Dennis Bookchester was named chairman of the IRB, though Bookchester, like Winchester, has never been involved with racing. Bookchester took over for Ralph Gonzalez, who lost his chairmanship but maintained a seat on the board. Also, board member Jim Kane was not reappointed, and Walter Dudycz was given a three-year term as executive director of the IRB.

The changes come as a potentially contentious hearing on next year's Illinois racing dates approaches on Sept. 23. Sportsman's Park has ceased operations, leaving a hole in the racing calendar, while the National Jockey Club, which hopes to run a meet at Hawthorne Race Course, faces questions about financial irregularities. Balmoral Park, a prime player on the local harness racing scene, also has applied for Thoroughbred dates next year.