Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 255-4300
Saturday, August 26, 2000
77th Day


Saturday's third running of the $100,000 Arlington Sprint, Sunday's inaugural edition of the $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes, and Labor Day Monday's 64th renewal of the $150,000 Arlington Matron serve as the headline thoroughbred racing attractions for the upcoming holiday weekend program at Arlington International Racecourse.

Chicago's premier thoroughbred oval will be open on a Monday for only the third time this summer in honor of the three-day national Labor Day weekend holiday. The Grade 3 Arlington Matron, a staple of the local stakes schedule for fillies and mares at a mile and an eighth, anchors that afternoon's local racing activities.

However, there are other attractions. As "America's Day at the Races," Labor Day has become a featured afternoon to promote thoroughbred racing throughout the United States. Activities that day - the "National Holiday for Horse Lovers" - are coordinated nationally by the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association (TOBA).

One of those national activities is "America's Pick-3," where racing fans throughout North America can make a single wager in an attempt to select the winners of three different stakes races at three different major racing centers nationwide.

"America's Pick-3" begins on the East Coast with the Grade 2 Diana Handicap at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York, journeys to the Midwest for the Grade 3 Arlington Matron in Chicagoland, and concludes on the West Coast with the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in Southern California.

Saratoga's $500,000 Diana Handicap, like the Arlington Matron, is for fillies and mares three-years-old and upward and is run at nine furlongs, but the New York race is slated for the turf course. The Matron is run on the main track.

The $250,000 Del Mar Handicap, for three-year-olds and upward, is contested at a mile and three-eighths over the grass.

Wagers on "America's Pick-3" will be accepted up until post time for the Diana Handicap, which will go off at 4:50 p.m.(CDT). The Arlington Matron will be run 15 minutes later at 5:05 p.m.(CDT). The Del Mar Handicap is scheduled to go to the post 15 minutes after that at 5:20 p.m.(CDT).

The takeout for the "America's Pick-3" wager is 20 per cent.


However, as the "National Holiday for Horse Lovers," TOBA is also trying to introduce the younger generation to thoroughbred racing and has a host of activities planned for the kids in the family.

A "Coloring Book Giveaway" is part of the program, with the books available in the Park Area at Arlington and at all Guests Services Booths.

A "Decorate The Horseshoe" activity will also be offered in the Park Area, giving the younger set a chance to decorate authentic thoroughbred horseshoes with paint, glitter, string and yarn.

A "Design Your Own T-Shirt" booth will also be available in the Park Area, affording the opportunity to customize T-Shirts with individual expressionism.

Also in the Park Area will be a "Junior Jockey Silks" section, where kids will be able to don a set of miniature jockey silks long enough to get their photo taken by parents who remember to bring the family camera along.

A "Happy Hoppers Race," where the youngsters will have an opportunity to hop along astride bouncing balls a short distance down the Arlington stretch, will also be offered on the Labor Day program. Also on tap that day - more of the increasingly popular "Stick Pony Races," which have become a fixture this summer at the local oval.

Activities for the adults will include a "Celebrity Autograph Session" with jockeys signing autographs for the fans, and a "Name The Yearling" contest.

In addition, jockeys will toss "America's Day at the Races" T-Shirts to the crowd throughout the holiday afternoon.

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