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Probe At Arrrrlington Pk
Suspicious drop in odds gets Arlington on case
June 30, 2003
BY JIM O'DONNELL STAFF REPORTER IN A SUMMER already as pockmarked as the lunar surface, more mystery and intrigue has descended upon Arlington Park. But this time, track management is taking a pro-active role in trying to solve it.
AP president Cliff Goodrich announced late Sunday that his organization has initiated a probe into a suspicious betting pattern on the second race from Saturday's card.
IN THAT EVENT--a six-furlong allowance on the main track--odds-on wire-to-wire winner Rainy Day Rules dropped from 9-1 to 5-1 in mid-race as the horse maintained a five-length lead turning for home. The Paul Mitchell trainee won easily but paid only $13.80.
''Arlington Park is reviewing the wagering on the second race on Saturday,'' Goodrich said. ''Once more information has been obtained and reviewed, we will make it available to the public.''
ARLINGTON'S OFFICIAL statement went on to pad Goodrich's words with the pre-fabbed addendum: ''The vast majority of racetracks in North America accept wagering until the bell rings and the horses leave the starting gate. It takes approximately 20 seconds to accumulate and verify all pools that are received from off-track locations. Changes in the odds once the race starts can occur when those late pools are included.''
A senior Arlington manager indicated that the likely source of the late action on Rainy Day Rules was through a United Tote hub feeding into the local oval's host AmTote system. Whatever the case, the situation is unacceptable to the mainstream Illinois betting public.
IT WOULD NOT seem unreasonable to ask that the track that hosted the worst betting scandal in the history of thoroughbred racing only eight months ago would have upgraded systems and safeguards in place from the start of its 2003 meet to assure the integrity of wagering.
Goodrich--who has been on the job since mid-winter--escapes prime accountability in this matter. But track chieftain Richard L. Duchossois and his retained staff don't.
AND AT SOME point in time, someone--good morning, Lorna Propes--must ask the keenly germane question: If Duchossois and Co. don't energetically and competently want to pursue hosting a successful 2003 meeting from start to finish, why don't they turn back their post-Million dates and allow Hawthorne to open early?
Since the May 9 opening, there have been far too many holes in the playpen plaguing the Arlington meet. Perhaps Duchossois and associates need to find some psychologically cathartic channel to get over their no-slot-machines blues. Because as scheduled, it is a long, long 13 weeks looming until the flow-steady confines of Hawthorne Race Course open.
Follow up article found in messhall-