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Howard Sudberry takes marketing reins at Arlington

Updated: May 19, 2011 3:47PM

There are second acts, folks. Just ask Howard Sudberry, who on Monday began a new job at Arlington Park as senior director of marketing and communications.

For 25 years, until he was cut loose in May of 2009, Sudberry was a sports reporter and anchor at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. It’s never easy to leave a place after a quarter century, but Sudberry said it didn’t come as a total shock. “I always knew I was gonna move on at some point,” he said.

In the months after his departure from WBBM, Sudberry began a video production and consulting company. He also produced and co-hosted the 2010 telecast of the high-profile Arlington Million horse race on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Then when Arlington Park came calling about a job, Sudberry got interested. Sudberry’s father trained race horses, and the ex-sports reporter and anchor spent a lot of time at racetracks when he was boy.

But growing up, Sudberry liked other sports too, and decided he wanted to report on sports on TV. That didn’t happen immediately, however, He began his TV career as a weatherman at a Peoria station and worked his way up in the business until he arrived at WBBM in 1984.

During his long tenure at Channel 2, the three-time Emmy Award-winning Sudberry hosted frequent telecasts of major races from Arlington Park. He now wants to use his familiarity with horse racing and his relationships with other local sports reporters to generate more coverage of Arlington Park. “My cameraman at WBBM and I always used to talk about how many great stories there are along the backstretch at Arlington Park,” Sudberry said.

Sudberry is acutely aware the last several years have not been kind to horse racing, which has been forced to compete with other readily accessible forms of gambling. Slots have been installed at many racetracks in other states, but not at Arlington. Sudberry wouldn’t say whether he thinks Arlington will eventually get them, though he said “they would help.”

In the meantime, Sudberry is going to focus on marketing the track and the glories of horse racing. “I think Arlington belongs on the list of things anyone visiting Chicago should see,” said Sudberry.

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