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ILLINOIS THOROUGHBRED HORSEMEN AND ARLINGTON PARK ANNOUNCE FORMATION OF NEW BACKSTRETCH COUNCIL
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (March 23, 2005) -- ITHA President Joe Kasperski and Arlington Park President Cliff Goodrich jointly announced today the formation a new Backstretch Council comprised of people and organizations that will assist in providing services to backstretch residents while having a daily presence at the racetrack.
The Council will be comprised of a representative from each of the organizations that currently provide services to backstretch workers - Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA), Arlington Park, Racetrack Industry Charitable Foundation (RICF), and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (RTCA) - as well as backstretch residents, and will also include a Service Providers Advisory Committee.
"The ITHA, along with Arlington Park, the RICF and the RTCA believe it is a necessity to form a cohesive group of providers that have a daily presence on the backstretch, to insure that efforts to improve the quality of life for backstretch workers move forward in a focused manner," said Joe Kasperski from the ITHA.
"Illinois Thoroughbred racetracks are at the forefront of providing important services that improve the quality of life for our backstretch residents," said Arlington's Goodrich. "The existing services provided by organizations like the ITHA, RICF and RTCA to our backstretch residents already far surpasses what exists at other racetracks across the country. However, we continue our commitment to work with additional organizations and people to improve life on the backstretch for these workers who are so important to our business."
In addition, a Service Providers Advisory Committee, consisting of a number outside professional organizations that provide specific services to benefit backstretch workers is also a part of the Council being formed to recommend and provide additional services and programs for backstretch residents. These organizations potentially will include local hospitals, school districts, universities and day-care centers.
In January, Arlington Park announced that the track's $4 million construction plans to build two new backstretch family housing facilities, originally scheduled to be completed in two phases over the next 17 months, has been accelerated into a new schedule that calls for both buildings with 96 new living units to be ready for the start of the track's 2005 meet beginning in May if weather permits the construction to adhere to the revised timetable.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- will run a 94-day meet in 2005 from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, Sept. 18. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Lucky's featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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