Can a Hawthorne ‘Racino’ Keep Horse Racing Alive in Chicago?

My first day at Arlington Park was one of the most momentous of my life.

It was July 1, 1996. My father’s wife was in town for a conference, and he needed to kill an afternoon. He suggested the track.

Even before we walked inside, I was awed by Arlington. From Northwest Highway, the grandstand resembled a splendid resort hotel. Its roof, a cowl painted the green of ancient copper, floated above the summer trees. Outside the gate, a garden spelled out A-R-L-I-N-G-T-O-N in red begonias.

Inside, the very worst thing that can happen to a novice gambler happened to me: I won a lot of money…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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