Dick Duchossois, Former Arlington Park Proprietor, Dies at 100


Posted on: January 30, 2022, 06:30h. 

Final up to date on: January 30, 2022, 08:20h.

Richard “Dick” Duchossois, an Illinois businessman who headed a gaggle that purchased Arlington Park practically 40 years in the past after which oversaw the suburban Chicago observe’s resurrection from a devastating hearth, died Friday. He was 100.

Dick Duchossois in an undated picture along with his spouse Judi in an undated picture. Duchossois, the previous proprietor of Arlington Park, died Friday on the age of 100. (Picture: Loyola College of Chicago)

After serving as an Military officer in World Battle II, the place he received a Purple Coronary heart and two Bronze Stars, Duchossois entered the enterprise world and have become chief government of a railroad automobile manufacturing firm within the Fifties.

By 1983, he had develop into chairman of Duchossois Industries, and that yr, the corporate purchased Arlington Park.

“Mr. D. achieved many good issues in life,” an announcement posted on Arlington Park’s Twitter feed said. “He labored arduous and at all times adopted the trail of honesty and integrity, which is a present that he handed on to all of us round him. We’re most grateful to him for sharing this present with us.”

Made the Million a Precedence After Hearth

The observe was destroyed by a devastating hearth in 1985. Whereas Arlington officers moved the observe’s summer season meet to close by Hawthorne Race Course, Duchossois made certain that the Arlington Million – the observe’s signature race – remained on the course.

Lower than a month after the hearth, Duchossois had momentary stands erected on the Arlington Heights observe, and a crowd of 35,000 watched as Teleprompter received the 1-1/4-mile turf race.

An obituary within the Arlington Heights Each day Herald recalled an interview Duchossois gave in 2015. He stated that his first response to the July 1985 blaze was to discover a solution to rebuild the observe as shortly as potential. His subsequent thought was to discover a solution to maintain the Million on the observe.

Perhaps it was a bit little bit of stupidity on my half to assume we may do that, however it by no means dawned on me that we couldn’t,” he stated.

The observe itself wouldn’t reopen till 1989. Nevertheless, when it did, it stood a crown jewel of racing with a six-story grandstand. It hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2002.

However Arlington would face different challenges lower than a decade later. In 1998 and 1999, the observe went darkish after Duchossois stated it was dropping thousands and thousands and confronted quite a few challenges, together with competitors from on line casino gaming.

On line casino gaming could be a difficulty over time with the observe.

Arlington would resume racing in 2000, the identical yr, Churchill Downs Inc. bought the observe.

Served on Churchill Downs Board

Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Invoice Carstanjen issued an announcement Friday calling Duchossois a “mentor and a buddy” to many on the Louisville-based firm. Churchill Downs acquired the Arlington Heights observe from Duchossois in 2000. Duchossois then served as a board member at Churchill Downs till his retirement in 2019.

Duchossois was a director emeritus at Churchill Downs Inc.

“He was a tireless champion of Churchill Downs and thoroughbred racing,” Carstanjen stated. “His influence on these of us concerned on this trade was merely immeasurable.”

Churchill Downs closed Arlington after final yr’s meet and introduced it might promote the 326-acre property to the Chicago Bears. That sale for $197 million is anticipated to shut both late this yr or early in 2023.

Previous to the sale, Churchill officers and Illinois horsemen went via protracted negotiations over purses in recent times.

Horsemen had been upset that Churchill wouldn’t pursue on line casino gaming on the observe after Illinois lawmakers accredited expanded gaming within the state in 2019. Churchill Downs additionally owns a majority stake in close by Rivers On line casino Des Plaines.

In a March 2021 interview with the Each day Herald, Duchossois stated he didn’t perceive the sale however supported it.

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