South Suburban Lawmakers Try To Save Horse Tracks

Dec 14, 2015

Illinois' racing board voted to hold no races at Balmoral or at Maywood next year --- essentially depriving them of any means of making money and forcing their closure.


Senator Toi Hutchinson, a Democrat from Crete, says Illinois has "disinvested" from her area in recent years.

"The loss of Balmoral is one more thing that our region just cannot sustain. Not only the economic impacts of the Balmoral racetrack in an off itself, but all of the other ancillary fields that are attached to it. It's the people who raise the horses, and the ones who raise the hay, and the veterinarians."

Hutchinson supports legislation that could give the tracks racing dates and restructure how tracks make money from off-track betting.

Maywood and Balmoral's managers say that would help to keep the tracks operating in the future ... as they seek new owners.

An auction is underway.

It's all fallout from a $82 million judgment against them following a Rod-Blagojevich era extortion scheme. That's under appeal.

The racing board says the legislation would wreak havoc on the system.