OTB Illinois is ready to reclaim its place as one of America’s horse racing hotspots. With the legalization of off-track betting in recent years, off-track betting (OTB) parlours and horse racing engagement is at an all-time high. Illinois has three horse racing tracks, over two dozen OTB’s, and online racebooks coming up. The Prairie State is back in business.
Let’s review the must-know topics of Illinois OTB such as:
As of spring 2019, Illinois has become one of the United States’s hotbed for off-track betting and sports betting. The state legislature passed a bill allowing sportsbooks, both physical and online, to get to business.
In June 2019, the Illinois Horse Racing Act established the creation of OTB Illinois sites. Each horse track gets to install their own intertrack wagering locations. The Fairmount Park may establish up to 9, Hawhtorne Race Course may install up to 16 OTB’s, and Arlington Park gets up to 18 OTB’s.
These parlours are either located within the track or are at their own destination. Horse racing fanatics will have no shortage of places for off-track betting. You can expect both locals and tourists to head to Illinois to get their horse racing fix.
Alternatively, bettors can also head to online sportsbooks for more convenience. Both the state of Illinois and international sportsbooks will offer off-track betting. Most of the latter will welcome American and Canadian players openly and even include deposit bonuses.
Now is the prime time to get into off-track betting in Illinois. With three racetracks, over two dozen OTB’s, and the availability of sportsbooks physically and digitally, consider Illinois the off-track betting capital of the Midwest.
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The most notable event to track for Illinois offtrack betting is the International Festival of Racing held every early August at the Arlington International Race Course. This includes three grade-I turf races: the Arlington Million Stakes, Beverly D. Stakes, and Secretariat Stakes. Also at Arlington is the American Derby held every July.
The Hawthorne Race Course and Fairmount Park Racetrack also hold horse racing events in different times of the year. They may not hold the top-tier races like Arlington, but they offer more in terms of quantity.
Hawthorne has live racing happening for all months of the year except in January, when winter is at its peak. Around mid-February, they begin hosting harness racing up until October, when the thoroughbred racing takes over until December. This includes the Hawthorne Gold Cup and Hawthorne Derby every fall in October. The Illinois Derby and Sixty Sails Handicap are usually every spring in April.
Fairmount holds non-graded and general horse races for two-thirds of the year from spring until fall. It hold s the most races among the three tracks.
There is horse racing across Illinois if you know where to look. Visit each track’s respective sites to find their racing calendars.
Illinois is the horse racing capital of the Midwest and was at a time, America’s state for horse racing. Around the state are a handful of horse racing tracks but its main three are the Arlington International Racecourse (Arlington Park, formerly), the Hawthorne Race Course, and Fairmount Park Racetrack.
The Arlington International Racecourse is the state’s premier horse racing track. It opened in 1927 and has seen many firsts including being the site of the first thoroughbred race with a million-dollar purse in 1981.
Arlington also hosts the International Festival of Racing every summer in August. This event features three grade-I turf races: the Arlington Million Stakes and Beverly D. Stakes, both Breeders’ Cup qualifying races, and the Secretariat Stakes, one of the Grand Slam of Grass races.
The Hawthorne Race Course is Illinois’s most iconic race track and is known as the oldest family-own track in America. It opened in 1891 and is home to the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame where longtime patriarch Tom Carey is a member.
Hawthorne also hosts several horse races like grade-II race, the Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap and grade-III races, the Illinois Derby, Sixty Sails Handicap, and the Hawthorne Derby.
Fairmount Park Racetrack holds over 200 horse races a year and is located by the St. Louis border. It opened in 1925 and has several upcoming upgrades in its future. This is what makes OTB Illinois so exciting!
At one point, Illinois was the horse racing hotspot for the United States and Arlington International Racecourse (then-called Arlington Park) was a significant part of that. It became the first racetrack in America to hold the a thoroughbred race with a million-dollar purse
The Racecourse features the International Festival of Racing every early August, which holds three Grade 1 turf races: the Arlington Million Stakes, Beverly D. Stakes, and Secretariat Stakes.
Arlington’s track is a one-mile (8 furlongs) track. There is a stabling on the backstreet that holds over 2,000 horses. In 2007, Arlington replaced its dirt track with a synthetic track.
The Arlington Million, perhaps the racecourse’s most renowned race, has a purse of $1 million and is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series. The winner automatically qualifies for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Two-time Eclipse Award Horse of the Year John Henry is the only horse to date to win the Arlington Million more than once (1981 and 1984). No jockey or owner has won the Million more than twice either. Chad Brown, one of the best turf trainers today, holds the record among trainers with four victories.
The Beverly D. Stakes is also part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers. And the Secretariat Stakes is included in the Grand Slam of Grass series.
Hawthorne is the oldest continually run family-owned track in North America and is a local treasure in Illinois. It is located in Stickney/Cicero and has been run by the Carey Family since 1891. The race course hosts several grade-II and grade-III races including the Hawthorne Gold Cup, Illinois Derby, and the Hawthorne Derby.
The track has a one-mile (eight furlongs) dirt oval with the home stretch at 1,320 feet, one of the longest in the country. Its track size is similar to the other local tracks.
The Hawthorne Gold Cup has historically been one of the premier races of the season. It attracted the best horses from across the country including Hall of Famer Sun Beau, who won it three consecutive times from 1929 to 1931 (the record). Other Hall of Famers to win the Gold Cup include Equipoise (1933), Discovery (1935), Challedon (1936), Round Table (1957, 1958), Kelso (1960).
Like Sun Beau, the record for most wins by an owner, a jockey, and a trainer all stand at three apiece.
The Illinois Derby was initially a grade-II race and has seen Triple Crown contender War Emblem win in 2002. The Hawthorne Derby was inaugurated in 1965 and is known as running different distances until 1989 where it set its length at 1 1/8 miles (nine furlongs).
Completing the Illini trifecta of horse racing is the Fairmount Park Racetrack located in Collinsville. Although officially located in Illinois, the track is considered a part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. As early as 1997, the track features as many as 232 live racing days per year, adding excitement to OTB Illinois.
Fairmount was opened in 1925 and once included harness racing until 1999. The track features a racing surface of one-mile (8 furlongs) with straight chutes for six furlong and 1 ¼ mile races.
The track also once held the St. Louis Derby. It occasionally hold Breeders’ Cup events.
Fairmount Park has seen its attendance dip over the years due to the competition from riverboat casinos in the St. Louis metropolitan area. In an effort to revitalize its operations, it made a bid in 2007 to build a 20,000-seat amphitheater to expand live racing not too unlike racinos from nearby competitors.
There are three OTB’s operated by Fairmount Park: Alton, Sauget, and Springfield. Outside of off-tracking betting and races, the park holds plenty of events for both racing and non-racing fans alike such as “Party at the Park”.
Off Track Betting Locations in Illinois
Trackside Waukegan630 South Green Bay RoadWaukegan, IL 60085Phone: (847) 336-1400
Stanley’s Ale House & Restaurant335 North McLean BoulevardSouth Elgin, IL 60123Phone: (847) 468-8022
Time Out OTB at Fairmount Park315 Belle StreetAlton, IL 62002Phone: (618) 465-1006
Trackside at Joe’s Bar940 West Weed StreetChicago, IL 60642Phone: (312) 787-9600
Corliss OTB11203 South CorlissChicago, IL 60628 773-995-8238Phone: (773) 995-8238
Jupiter’s at the Crossing2511 Village Green PlaceChampaign, IL 61822Phone: (217) 403-0922
Ringside Sports Bar and OTB554 East DevonElk Grove Village, IL 60007Phone: (847) 364-4122
Shark City2240 Bloomindale RoadGlendale Heights, IL 60139Phone: (630) 893-9346
Trackside at Salerno-Picente Ristorante9301 63rd StreetHodgkins, IL 60525Phone: (708) 354-1668
Crestwood OTB13148 Rivercrest DriveCrestwood, IL 60445Phone: (773) 995-8238
Trackside at Iron Horse Saloon1225 East 9th StreetLockport, IL 60441Phone: (815) 838-4420
Trackside at Nicolino’s621 Ridgeview DriveMcHenry, IL 60050Phone: (815) 344-0742
Bookie Magee’s2450 Jefferson StreetJoliet, IL 60435Phone: (815) 744-6500
Lucky Magee’s9215 North Greenwood AvenueNiles, IL 60714Phone: (847) 795-8000
All Seasons Entertainment Center1304 Cross Creek DriveNormal, IL 61761Phone: (309) 829-3300
Stoney Point Grill19031 Old LaGrange RoadMokena, IL 60448Phone: (708) 478-1670
Oakbrook Terrace OTB17W648 22nd StOakbrook Terrace, IL 60181Phone: (630) 627-8238
Trackside at Sam’s Triple Crown9201 159th StreetOrland Hills, IL 60487Phone: (708) 873-1119
The Turf Room650 Randall Crossings LaneNorth Aurora, IL 60542Phone: (630) 906-9300
Don Carter Lanes4007 East State StreetRockford, IL 61108Phone: (815) 398-2300
Route 3 OTB2400 Mississippi AvenueSauget, IL 62201Phone: (618) 274-6468
Trackside at Tavern on North105 East North StreetVilla Park, IL 60181Phone: (630) 758-0099
Tad’s Sports Bar & Grill1322 Gardner StreetSouth Beloit, IL 61080Phone: (815) 389-4921
Players Pub & Grill1250 South River RoadProspect Heights, IL 60070Phone: (847) 693-7323
Capital Teletrack1766 Wabash AvenueSpringfield, IL 62704Phone: (217) 546-2111
The Foundry85 Executive DriveAurora, IL 60504Phone: (630) 978-2088