ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — For decades, Arlington International Racecourse was the crown jewel of racing in Illinois. But its owner Churchill Downs Inc. did not apply for future racing dates and announced last month it had reached a deal to sell the 326-acre property to the Chicago Bears.

If approved, it will leave the Chicago area with one remaining track: Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney. And while that track and others face increasing competition from casinos and other forms of gambling, WGN Investigates found big bets are being laid on horse racing’s future, even in the face of long odds.

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