(CBS) — A landmark racetrack in the western suburbs ran its last race Friday.
Maywood Park Race Course won’t open next season, and most believe that means it will shut down for good, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.
And they’re off, galloping toward the finished of a 69-year harness-racing run at the Melrose Park racetrack.
This has been owner Duke Johnston’s life since he was a kid. But he says the shrinking horse-betting crowd and the lack of a gaming bill allowing slot machines at racetracks were two of three big business killers.
The third reason, he says, is the racing dates the venue lost. State regulators gave the racing dates to Arlington Park and Hawthorne racetracks, the latter of which will incorporate harness racing.
“There just needed to be contraction within the industry,” Hawthorne owner Tim Carey says.
He says his racetrack would absorb some of the lost jobs.
But Marilyn Kelly, the owner of Wondrous Sport, is concerned for everyone associated with her horse.
“It’s kind of scary,” she says.
Johnson said he doesn’t know what will happen to the Maywood Park site.