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January 08, 1968
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January 08, 1968


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On Thursday newspapers and wire services were flooded with telephone calls from bettors trying to find the results. There were no results. The game was called off months ago and rescheduled for Jan. 6. Any bets?


Arlington Park, the Midwest's leading Thoroughbred track, has made a bid to hold half of its 1968 programs at night. Five weeks ago the track requested the change in programming, but the petition to the Illinois Racing Board was made surreptitiously, Arlington apparently hoping the board would approve its plan before opposition—primarily from harness-racing interests—could be mobilized. The board, which is traditionally compliant in dealing with the track's requests, was expected to hand down a favorable decision.

However, 24 hours before the board was to decide on the matter the Arlington proposal was leaked to the Chicago Sun-Times, presumably so that the decision would not appear to be a behind-the-scenes deal. Opposition to the plan was immediate and so intense that the chairman of the Illinois Racing Board suggested it go into executive session to examine the matter and, quite possibly, to approve it. Attorneys for anti- Arlington groups declared secret sessions were against the state law; so the board retreated, and it will hold public hearings on the matter this Saturday.

The group that will suffer most if night Thoroughbred racing is approved will be the local harness tracks, which already race at night and have dates that overlap Arlington's. "We will not be able to compete," one harness official says. "Night Thoroughbred racing will mean less revenue and therefore less purse money at our tracks. It would be the death knell of our business."

Harness racing has built itself into a major sport by catering to night crowds. Now Thoroughbred racetrack owners are eying the market they once scoffed at as nonexistent. William Miller, former chairman of the Illinois Racing Board, declared recently that "night Thoroughbred racing cannot be avoided for long in any state simply because that is the only avenue of survival."

Survival for whom?


There was a report going around recently that the sand in the bunkers at next week's Crosby Pro-Am would be pastel-toned. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, the sponsor of the telecast of the tournament, makes a pastel sand, and the company suggested that viewers might like to see more colorful explosion shots.

Del Monte Properties Co., the owner of the golf courses on which the Crosby is played, agreed to the idea, figuring that 3M would use a color spray on the existing sand. When Del Monte officials learned later that 3M would bring in tons of its own sand and would substitute it for that which is now in the traps, 3M was told to keep its trucks in St. Paul. It seems Del Monte is also in the sand business, and all that fine-grained Monterey stuff that glistens so white on TV is for sale.

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