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IRB NOTES

Illinois Racing Board

Mother's Day at Arlington again

Arlington Park will open the Friday before Mother's Day in 2003, and Hawthorne loses the split season but will start the fall meet earlier, on September 28. Both will be dark on Monday and Tuesday. Hawthorne will close the fall/winter meet on January 1, 2004.

The National Jockey Club (Sportsman's) will run from March 1 to May 8, at Hawthorne, with Wednesday and Thursday as dark days.

Hawthorne will also host harness racing as Suburban Downs again next year, from May 13 to June 30, for 49 straight days.

Arlington will run for 103 days in 2003, down from 107 this year. For the past two years Arlington has started in June and run through the end of October, in preparation for hosting the Breeders' Cup this year. The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Chicago and Arlington Park this year on October 26 for the first time in their 19-year history.

Sportsman's at Hawthorne will run 48 days in 2003, up from 46 this year. Hawthorne will run 68 fall/winter days, instead of 60 split between spring and fall/winter.

Sportsman's had asked to run Fridays and Saturdays in January and February. The board rejected that request despite support from the ITHA, but split up the dark months differently for 2003. Arlington will be simulcast host for January 2 through 31. Sportsman's will get February 1 through 14, and Hawthorne February 14 through 28.

Host track commissions for the dark months will be distributed to the tracks serving as host during that time. Purse commissions will be $1.5 million to Hawthorne National LLC, the operating company for Hawthorne and Sportsman's, with the balance going to Arlington.

Fairmount Park in southern Illinois will run April 4 through October 18, with Sunday, Monday and Thursday as dark days.

Maywood and Balmoral will split the rest of the harness year between them, with Balmoral being dark on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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