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Arlington Park set for opener

LOUISVILLE KY - APRIL 28:  Bodemeister is riden track during morning excercise sessipreparatifor 138th Kentucky Derby Churchill Downs April

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 28: Bodemeister is riden on the track during the morning excercise session in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 28, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\143521496.jpg

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What: The 138th running
of the Kentucky Derby.

Where: Churchill Downs,
Louisville, Ky.

Distance: 1¼ miles.

When: Post time is 5:23 p.m. Saturday.

On TV: Undercard
at 10 a.m. on NBCSN, Derby coverage at
4 p.m. on Ch. 5.

Updated: June 5, 2012 11:44AM

At almost the 11th hour, Arlington Park Racetrack and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association agreed to a new contract for the 2012 season, just in time for Arlington to open its 85th season Friday.

Arlington Park general manager Tony Petrillo said Arlington officials met with four members of the ITHA board to find a resolution to the contract dispute and an agreement was reached late Wednesday.

If an agreement was not reached, purses at Arlington would be reduced by 20 percent. The ITHA did not want Arlington to accept wagers on its races by bettors outside of Illinois.

Finding a resolution puts Petrillo and the rest of Arlington’s management at ease.

“We talked and the conversation moved, and once that happened things moved quickly,” Petrillo said. “Larger purses attract more well-known horses. It’s like going to watch the Yankees. People know the names of those horses.”

Petrillo said the agreement allows Arlington to use the full amount of its purses each race day.

Owners whose horses cross the line 1-5 receive a piece of that full purse, with the winner usually receiving a 60 percent cut of that prize money, Petrillo said.

Friday’s post time is 3 p.m. and features a nine-race card. The track will also feature all races from Churchill Downs including the 138th running of the Kentucky Oaks.

Arlington will open at 10:45 a.m. Saturday and the first post for the nine-race card is 12:15. Arlington will also have a full card of races simulcast from Churchill Downs, including the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Simulcast betting for the Derby will also be available at Hawthorne Park in Stickney and at all of its affiliated Club Hawthorne off-track betting sites.

Petrillo also said there will not be any night racing at Arlington this season. The 30th running of the Arlington Million, the track’s premier race, will be held Aug. 18.

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