Arlington Park Race Track’s Final Lap

| May 7, 2021

On Friday, April 30th, Teamsters Local 727 members returned to work at Arlington Park Race Track to start the 68-day meet which many expect to be the last live racing meet in the Park’s 94-year history. Originally opened in 1927, this Midwestern mecca has hosted celebrated racehorses Secretariat and Cigar, as well as famous jockeys such as Willie Shoemaker and Pat Day. After the Track burned down in 1985, the owner at the time rebuilt it for $100 million and turned it into the prestigious track that we enjoy today.On Saturday, May 1st, approximately 4,500 fans flocked to Arlington Park with bright colored hats for what will most likely be the Park’s last Kentucky Derby Day celebration. While the Arlington Heights track holds 47,000 fans, only about 10% of that number was allowed at the track on Derby Day in accordance with State of Illinois current COVID-19 mandates. Local 727 members in the Parking Department, Program Sellers, Starting Gate, and Valets were there to ensure that the last meet will be a success. The first point of contact a track patron sees when they arrive on-site is the friendly Parkers who scan in pre-paid tickets for preferred parking and make sure the new parking format runs smooth. The Program Seller is just inside the track, selling simulcast programs, Brisnet, and pens. Meanwhile, on the other side of the rail, the Valets assist the jockeys while the Starting Gate Crew make sure each horse gets loaded in safely.

Since Churchill Downs, Inc. announced their intent to sell the track, rumors have swirled around about what new owners of the track would do with the land and racing facility, but at this time, the future of Arlington Park and the future employment of Local 727 members at the Park is uncertain. However, on Monday, May 3rd, Arlington Heights trustees unanimously approved an ordinance banning Churchill Downs from placing a restrictive covenant tied to horse racing and gambling on the land in an effort to preserve redevelopment options. This decision has provided hope for the future of Local 727 members continuing to working at the Track; while it might still be a long-shot, Local 727 will be cheering for Illinois to continue thoroughbred horse racing in Arlington Heights. Read the Daily Herald’s story about this decision here.

Members with questions should reach out to Business Agent Nick Micaletti at (847) 696-7500.

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Racetrack

Comments are closed.