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Dick Duchossois, 95, still driving force behind Arlington Park

Before a breakfast meeting at Arlington International Racecourse, a plate of fresh fruit on a conference room table led to a healthy exchange with 95-year-old Chairman Dick Duchossois about eating right. Duchossois, who passed on the pineapple and cantaloupe, recalled his mother refusing to excuse him from dinner until he had eaten all his spinach and cauliflower but laughed at the idea of a good diet leading to his longevity.
"I eat what I like,'' Duchossois said, sipping black coffee. "People say, 'How do you live so long?' I say you get challenges that get your adrenaline up. It's not all what you eat. Doctors can't say that, but it's true, at least for me.''
It was 8:30 a.m. and, like every morning, Duchossois already had been at the office for nearly 90 minutes. The racetrack, celebrating its 90th anniversary with Friday's opening, bustled with anticipation as workers finely manicured the grounds the way "Mr. D" insists. A yellow legal pad contained pages of handwritten notes Duchossois wrote preparing for his day. A full calendar greeted him at the door. As he prefers, Duchossois drove his white Mercedes from the house in Barrington Hills he shares with his wife, Judi, to the pristine horse racing palace off Route 53 he rebuilt after the fire in 1985.


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