|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
An Abraham Lincoln impersonator, Native American dancers, Medieval Times' jousting, and golf and fishing clinics will blend with blues and jazz music and a host of other exciting activities this Saturday when Arlington Park presents the second annual Prairie State Festival as a celebration of Illinois' unique heritage.
Interactive booths highlighting Illinois activities and destinations will adorn Arlington's Grand Staircase and combine with six Thoroughbred stakes races featuring Illinois-breds to underline the "enjoy Illinois" campaign.
In general terms, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, Bureau of Tourism (DCCA/IBOT) and Arlington Park will encourage guests to "indulge, explore, play and discover" during Saturday's Prairie State Festival.
More specifically, Arlington patrons will want to indulge in the various front-stage performances, explore the interactive booths, play the Illinois Lottery's new Illinois Road Trip instant game and discover the works of talented Illinois artists.
A Mary Todd Lincoln impersonator will join her husband plus mascots representing the Schaumburg Flyers, the John Hancock Building, Popeye and Raggedy Ann will entertain the youngsters throughout the afternoon when Arlington's Family Day activities will be celebrated during the special Saturday program. The Lincolns will distribute stovepipe hats during the day.
For adults, a wine tasting exhibit featuring Illinois wines will compliment The Kahok Dancers performing as Native American dancers, and Medieval Times sword fights will be staged in addition to the jousting exhibition.
A fish-casting clinic and a golf-swing clinic will also be offered, and an Illinois Wrapped Tourism Bus will be parked on the Arlington grounds by the Euclid Avenue entrance.
Godolphin's Fantastic Light, a nominee to this summer's Grade I Arlington Million to be contested August 18, scored a two and a half length victory over Eclipse Award winning Male Turf Horse Kalanisi, owned by H. H. Aga Khan, in Wednesday's Group I Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot.
With his latest British tally, Fantastic Light, who won Emirates World Series 2000, took his second straight at the expense of Kalanisi, who captured last year's Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. In the Group I Tattersalls Gold Cup contested at The Curragh in Ireland on May 27, Fantastic Light had defeated Kalanisi by a neck.
"This fellow is getting better and better," said winning jockey Frankie Dettori. "Let's hope now he gets the credit he deserves."
Winning owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Matoum of Godolphin said of Fantastic Light's immediate future: "He's a good horse and I think now we want to take on the best of the best. We will go to the Group I Eclipse Stakes (at Sandown July 8) and Group I King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (at Ascot July 27), and we won't be afraid of anybody."
The Arlington Million is the third leg of the 2001 Emirates World Series Racing Championship.
Other recent Arlington Million nominee successful tidbits include a win by Oak Cliff Stable's El Gran Papa in last Saturday's $300,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park and a third-place finish by Thomas F. Van Meter's Brahms in Saturday's Grade II Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Recent successful forays by Grade I Beverly D. nominees, also to be contested August 18 as part of Arlington Park's one-day International Festival of Racing, include a second-place finish by Nigel Shields' Melody Queen in the Grade III Matchmaker at Monmouth Park last Saturday. Also last Saturday, Frank C. Calabrese's Great Fever finished third in Woodbine's Carotene Stakes.
Jockey Earlie Fires, Arlington Park's all-time leading rider who will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga later this summer, will compete in Lone Star Park's NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship Friday at the Grand Prairie, Texas oval.
Fires, who won five Arlington riding titles (1966, 1975, 1979, 1983, 1984), will be joined by several other former Arlington riding champions, including Hall of Famer Pat Day (1981, 1986, 1987, 1990), Aaron Gryder (1994, 1995) and Robby Albarado (1996).
"My wife and I are leaving for Lone Star right after the races tonight," said Fires Thursday at Arlington. "Mr. Duchossois held one of those 'us-against-the-west promotions' a few years ago and it was a lot of fun. This should be just the same. We're really looking forward to it. Those Lone Star people have been real nice about making the arrangements."
Also competing in the Lone Star Park extravaganza will be Hall of Fame reinsman Jerry Bailey, who became the first jockey in history to capture both the Arlington Million and the Beverly D. in the same season last summer.
The American Airlines Sweepstakes will also be offered this Saturday and every Saturday through September 29, with an opportunity through a drawing held after the fourth race to win American Airlines tickets to anywhere in the continental United States.
Entry forms are available in Friday's edition of the Daily Herald or at the track on each Saturday of the summer.
Participants and sponsors from the "Relay For Life" held at Arlington Park May 11-12 will return to the track this Sunday to be recognized in the sixth race which has been named in their honor.
The Relay For Life was an overnight community-wide team event held at Arlington Park to increase cancer awareness while raising funds for research, education, advocacy and patient service programs in the fight against cancer.
The Arlington Park Relay For Life that involved 12 local communities from Arlington Heights, Barrington, Mt. Prospect, Prospect Heights and Wheeling raised over $625,000 for research, education and prevention of cancer. It marks the first time that a Relay For Life in Illinois surpassed $600,000 in money raised.
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