Chicago

Arlington racetrack memorabilia being auctioned off

After babysitting for jockeys’ youngsters at Arlington International Racecourse, then working the betting window for 20 years, Jeanne Hoogerhyde had spent a lot of her life on the monitor. Now that it’s closed, she desires to take somewhat piece of it dwelling along with her.

So she was again on the monitor Monday, testing among the tons of of things from the power which might be being bought at a sequence of on-line auctions. She and her husband already purchased a bench from the grandstand for $450. They additionally had been testing different gadgets and reliving reminiscences.

“There’s never going to be another place like this,” she mentioned. “There was something about being outside at the track with your family and friends. The horses were beautiful, the fireworks were fun. I loved it.”

Owners Churchill Downs Inc. closed the monitor final year and entered a preliminary settlement to promote the positioning in Arlington Heights for $197 million to the Chicago Bears, who’ve proposed constructing a soccer stadium there.

Though the land may maintain each the monitor and a soccer stadium, the Bears have mentioned they’re not fascinated with conducting racing on the 326-acre website. Weeds now develop excessive alongside the rail, and the stables and rows of backstretch flats sit empty. It appears seemingly the power, which Architectural Digest as soon as named probably the most lovely racetrack within the nation, will probably be torn down.

That means every thing should go. In a sequence of as much as 15 deliberate auctions, Grafe Auction is promoting off furnishings, indicators, artwork work and bronze sculptures, trash cans, saddle towels and jockey numbers muddied in races, and some jockey silks.

Auctioneers count on finally to promote the end line and quarter mile poles from the monitor, although any usable gear could possibly be transferred to different tracks. The standout murals on the monitor, a statue of legendary racehorse John Henry, will seemingly be transferred or bought individually.

But a smattering of individuals testing the wares on the seven-story monitor had been fascinated with selecting up something to remind them of the park’s heyday in a long time previous.

“Anything with the Arlington logo goes fast,” monitor General Manager Tony Petrillo mentioned. Office provides had been donated to varsities in Chicago, and a few memorabilia was being saved for the Arlington Heights Historical Society.

One former employee wiped away tears as she contemplated the monitor closing, whereas others fondly recalled household picnics there.

“I hate that it’s ending,” Carol Elliott, of Woodstock, mentioned. “It’s such a nice facility to be wasted.”

On the opposite finish of the spectrum, a few of these attending the public sale had no real interest in horse racing and had by no means been to the park earlier than. Chuck Pine, proprietor of Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafes in Burbank and Darien, was as an alternative cut price looking.

He was testing out of doors furnishings for his eating patio, a espresso desk for his dwelling and gear for his kitchens. One couch that sells for $3,300 new was on bid for $140.

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This was the fourth of as much as 15 deliberate auctions, Patrons could view the gadgets on-line, and the ultimate on-line bidding was set for Tuesday. Similar to an in-person public sale, bidders have 20 seconds to bid on an merchandise earlier than it’s bought, or if there’s a brand new bid, the timer resets for an additional 20 seconds.

Judd Grafe, president and CEO of Grafe Auction in Spring Valley, Minnesota, mentioned folks treasured the park as a gathering place, however perceive change is a part of life.

“People were married here, and had memorials and reunions here,” he mentioned. “This is a chance to honor that history. It’s always a sad day when that goes away. But if the Bears make this a different kind of gathering place, that continues.”

Scott Jensen, 57, of Schaumburg, had made the monitor his “stomping grounds” for many years, and had watched the earlier grandstand burn down in 1985. He hoped to purchase a bench just like the one on which he has a photograph of himself together with his sons and mom on Mother’s Day in 2014, their final time on the monitor earlier than she died.

As for the long run, he in contrast the positioning’s potential to that of different NFL leisure complexes equivalent to those in Dallas or Los Angeles, and mentioned its destiny is determined by the Bears.

“If the Bears do it right, it’ll be awesome,” he mentioned. “If they don’t, it could be a bust.”

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