No need to worry about the bankruptcy of Balmoral and Maywood Parks as the IRB has awarded all racing dates for Chicago to Arlington International Racecourse and Hawthorne Racetrack. While Hawthorne will have thoroughbred meet, there will be a short harness meet from January 6 - February 6 and a longer meet from May 1 thru August 31.
Hawthorne last raced trotters back in the winter of 2008 and had asked for dates for several years afterwards only to be denied racing dates in favor of Balmoral and Maywood. This decision is now a reversal of that policy, no doubt the bankruptcy of the current harness tracks playing a factor. The IRB may have thought with all the OTW fees going to the two surviving tracks, they will be in better financial condition to survive the lean days which are racing in Illinois.
So where does this leave Chicago harness horsemen? Roughly the same number of race days will take place but instead of two days of racing each week, it will be consolidated in a smaller period of time (5 days a week) for a total of 128 to 117 days depending on what happens with the Springfield and Duquoin meets). You can look at it as half empty or half full. With racing being condensed, Illinois horsemen will be free to race elsewhere during the dark period.
Was it time to pull the plug on Balmoral and Maywood Parks? Look at it this way, the horsemen apparently didn't voice any preference regarding the two plans presented. Don't get me wrong, the two tracks will be missed with all the history behind them.