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Illinois Racing Board

Illinois Racing Board

Contact: Mickey Ezzo


CHICAGO, IL -- Due to an unusually high number of unexplained equine breakdowns during Arlington Park’s 2006 race meeting, the Illinois Racing Board has authorized the hiring of an independent racetrack consultant to inspect and assess the surface condition of the main track at Arlington Park.

Charles E. Coon & Sons, a company dedicated for 50 years to the design, construction and maintenance of racing and training tracks for both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses, was retained by the IRB immediately following its July 11, 2006 meeting.

In a letter addressed to Executive Director Marc Laino dated July 15, 2006, Gregory Coon confirmed that he had conducted a two-day inspection of the track surface which included measurement of the depth of the cushion and evaluation of the stability and firmness of the pad. This analysis was performed under both wet and dry track conditions and at various positions on the track.

Mr. Coon found that the surface was “remarkably consistent and uniform.” He observed no aspect of the track that he would consider unsafe, and remarked positively upon the knowledge and abilities of the Arlington track superintendent. These results confirm the analysis previously performed by an outside expert obtained by Arlington Park.

IRB Executive Director Marc Laino stated, “This report from Mr. Coon is the latest in the Board’s efforts to analyze every factor that might have caused or contributed to this cluster of breakdowns. Mr. Coon’s analysis, taken with all other information available at this time, has not identified any defect in the track surface as a cause or contributor to these breakdowns.

"Regrettably, neither the Board nor Arlington Park has been able to identify a unifying cause for these events. Our ongoing efforts will include close examination of the affected horses’ veterinarian records and discussions with those trainers involved, the racing secretary, and our own staff. In the meantime, we have stepped up our pre-race examinations of horses in order to make doubly sure every horse that goes to the post at Arlington is sound. This is a matter of profound importance to the entire racing community, and the public should be aware that the IRB is doing everything it can to protect our jockeys and horses from injury.”




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