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Contact: Dan Leary
ARLINGTON ATTENDANCE AND HANDLE UP ENTERING SUMMER FESTIVAL OF RACING; PURSES FOR 41-DAY FESTIVAL INCREASED
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 12, 2001) -- Arlington Park announced that 2001 attendance and handle figures were up following the first 20 days of the meet compared to the same time period in 2000. In addition, as previously announced, daily purses for the Summer Festival of Racing, which began on Wednesday, July 11 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2001 have been increased.
For the 41-day Summer Festival overnight purses, including Illinois Owner's Awards, have been increased to an average of approximately $275,000 per day.
"We are excited about the increase in purses during the Summer Festival of Racing and the effect that it will have on further improving the quality of racing," said Arlington Park CEO Scott Mordell. "With the Illinois Owner's Awards included, we are looking to average $275,000 in daily overnight purse distribution."
For the second straight season, Arlington's 102-day meet is being presented with a two-tier purse structure in order to offer a premier segment of the race meet to improve the level of competition and attract national attention to racing in Illinois.
"The progress Illinois racing made in 2000 has carried over into our 2001 meet," Mordell added. "Our attendance and on-track handle are tracking ahead of our results from last year."
Highlighting the 41-day Summer Festival are the International Festival of Racing on August 18 when Illinois' only three Grade I races -- the Arlington Million, the $700,000 Beverly D. and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes -- are presented and Million Preview Day on July 28, when the Grade III $250,000 Arlington Handicap, the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap and the $125,000 Round Table Stakes will be run.
Through the first 20 days of the 2001 season, Arlington's average daily attendance has been 8,526 (170,512 for 20 days), up 12.6% over the average for the pre-festival 21 days in 2000, which was 7,571 (158,999 for 21 days).
On track handle is up 8.3% vs. 2000 with an average of $722,453 ($14,449,053 - 20 days) this year vs. $666,993 ($14,006,858 - 21 days), while total handle on Arlington races has increased 10.6% from $2,690,979 per day ($56,510,551 in 21 days) last year to $2,976,235 ($59,524,705 in 20 days) in 2001.
The first segment of the 2001 meet concluded Sunday, July 8 with average daily overnight purses, including owner's awards of $225,885 vs. $217,773 a year ago.
Arlington Park, the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill., will run its 102-day live racing meet from June 13 through October 28, 2001. Arlington Park, which merged with Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN) in September 2000, also operates five off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities -- "Trackside" at Arlington Park (Arlington Heights) and Quad City Downs (East Moline), and in Chicago, Rockford, Waukegan. For further information on Arlington Park, visit our website at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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