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Auction Slated For Track Assets

Published: December 10, 2015 9:47 am ET

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Reports from Illinois indicate that assets for two Chicago-area harness tracks will be auctioned off on Monday after failing to attract a buyer to keep them from bankruptcy.

Casino operators in Illinois were victorious in legal action filed against the owners of Balmoral Park and Maywood Park claiming a $100,000 campaign contribution was paid to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. In return, Blagojevich would sign legislation agreeing to share casino gaming revenue with the state's racetracks. According to the Chicago Tribune, that contribution was never made. The casinos, citing damages, were awarded a $79 million judgement.

Court filings indicate that the tracks' owners contacted prospective buyers from May through July but no acceptable offers came in.

In September, the Illinois Racing Board awarded a minimum of 117 race dates to former Standardbred track Hawthorne Race Course.

The Tribune reported that the auction, set to take place at the law firm representing the track, will not be open to the public. All offers are subject to approval by the tracks' owners as no reserve prices have been set. The auction will include assets that include the tracks' OTB parlours. In October, the track operators filed with the IRB to continue running those locations. That application is slated to be discussed at Tuesday's IRB meeting, as well as the status of the tracks' Chapter 11 case.

Balmoral Park and Maywood Park have been in operation since before World War II (Balmoral, 1925 and Maywood, 1932). The December issue of Trot Magazine features a story on the two tracks.


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