|Arlington Park news release
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
RACE TRACK CHAPLAINCY OF AMERICA COMES TO ARLINGTON
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 8, 2001) -The Race Track Chaplaincy of America (RTCA) has commenced its services at Arlington Park and Chicago in time for the upcoming thoroughbred racing season beginning Wednesday, June 13 of Father's Day week.
Founded 30 years ago, the RTCA program was organized by concerned Christians to help the men and women at the racetrack and their families, many of whom had no religious community or leader to turn to in times of crisis. Over the years it has received enthusiastic support from racetrack management and horsemen's associations, but RTCA remains a non-profit organization that depends on charitable contributions for its many services.
"I'm very happy that we (RTCA) are on the scene at a key meet like Arlington," said Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who serves on the RTCA Executive Committee as the racing industry's representative. Day, currently in the news after becoming only the third jockey in racing history to ride 8,000 winners when he accomplished that feat May 31 at Churchill Downs, was accepting congratulations on that milestone when asked about the new association between Arlington and the RTCA.
"I have a vision that eventually the RTCA will be represented at every racetrack in America," Day said. "I strongly believe the RTCA is the true vision of God's ministry to horse racing." Day, who has won Eclipse Awards as America's Champion Jockey four times in his career, has also been Arlington's leading rider four times. He is also the all-time leading reinsman at Churchill Downs, also an RTCA racetrack along with the rest of the ovals under the Churchill Downs, Inc. umbrella, including Hollywood Park, Calder Race Course, Ellis Park and Hoosier Park at Anderson.
Coincidentally, Day's 8,000th win aboard Camden Park, and 8,001st tally astride Elite Mercedes later that same afternoon, were both trained by Elliott Walden, one of America's most prominent young conditioners and an active supporter of RTCA.
"It pleases me that RTCA will have a presence at Arlington," said Walden, who will have horses at Chicago's premier oval throughout the summer. "We need a chaplain at every race track in America. It not only brings the presence of God to the backside but helps meet a lot of other needs of the people who work there."
As Arlington becomes the 66th racetrack to become associated with RTCA, Luis D. Peralta will become the 36th Interdenominational chaplain within that organization.
As a native of Guatemala, Chaplain Peralta is bilingual - a great advantage given the large Hispanic population among the backstretch community. He arrived in Chicago last December the day after O'Hare Airport had been closed down by the first major snowstorm of the winter. Although his only previous exposure to snow had been occasional flurries in Texas, he was not discouraged by the rude meteorological welcome.
"I have a big desire to serve the Lord," Peralta said, "and I have the heart to serve. I'm excited. This is a new step for me, and it is a big step, but God molded me in preparing me for this big step."
Chaplain Peralta, who was assisted by Chaplain Les Riggs, RTCA's Chaplain's Representative during his initial days at Arlington, will have his office in Dorm 2, Room 21 on the Arlington backstretch. His duties will be those set forth in the RTCA bylaws, including:
Arlington Park, the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in
Arlington Heights, Ill., will run its 102-day live racing meet from June 13
through October 28, 2001. Arlington Park, which merged with Churchill Downs
Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN) in September 2000, also operates off-track,
simulcast-wagering facilities at -- Trackside at Arlington Park, Quad City
Downs and in Chicago, Rockford, Waukegan. For further information on
Arlington Park, visit our website at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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