The approximately 175 members and guests of the
Thoroughbred Club of America who braved a cold, winter night Jan. 9 to
attend the organization’s annual Testimonial Dinner heard a
warming, optimistic view of racing from Richard L. "Dick" Duchossois, an
industry icon best known for his success as operator of Arlington Park
in suburban Chicago.
Acknowledging that North American horse industry faces some
challenges, especially the highly publicized economic downturns in the
breeding and racing industries, the 89-year-old Duchossois said the
industry is in a transition phase that should make it poised for a
"This industry isn’t dying," Duchossois said. "There is
no way we could ever think it is dying. Nor is it on life support. It
has too much to offer and we’re not going to waste it...I am optimistic
because you are going to change the face of racing."
Duchossois said much of his bullish view of the
industry’s future is based on the transitions it is now undergoing. He
noted the successful marketing efforts by Keeneland and Churchill Downs
Inc., which now owns Arlington Park, to attract a more diverse and
younger fan base as examples of ways in which racing is making the
changes necessary to survive.