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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. --- The 103-day 2000 Arlington International Racecourse race meet, which began on Mother's Day May 14, concluded on Saturday, Sept. 30 with significant increases in attendance and handle from the Illinois totals of 1999.

Highlights of the meet included, the second largest crowd in Arlington history, 34,243, on opening day; a record day of wagering on the International Festival of Racing, featuring the Arlington Million; a highly successful two-tiered purse structure and the inaugural Prairie State Festival.

Wagering on Illinois live races from all sources increased by 62% to an average of $3,234,729 per day compared with the $1,996,467 daily average at Hawthorne Race Course from May 14 to Sept. 30, 1999. In addition, that total represents a 22% increase compared to Arlington's 1997 average of $2,653,442 on those same dates. The total handle on Illinois races from all sources for the 2000 Arlington meet was $333,177,106.

The average daily attendance of 6,709 for the 103-day meet was more than two and a half times higher than the 2,657 daily attendance in Illinois during the same time period a year ago. The total attendance for the meet of 691,055 represents a 152% increase over last year. The 2000 average attendance kept pace with the 6,763 average at Arlington on the same days in 1997.

The large increase in on-track attendance also spurred on-track wagering at Arlington in 2000 to more than double the handle during the same days last year. Arlington's $637,664 daily average was a 133% increase over Illinois' 1999 average of $273,313 per day. This year's total on-track handle was $65,679,350, similar to the $65,920,323 wagered on the same days in 1997 at Arlington.

The improved quality and distribution of the Arlington simulcast signal improved wagering on Illinois races from out of state to increase by 79% compared to 1999 and was 44% higher than in 1997. Average daily handle on Arlington's races from outside Illinois was $2,165,903 compared to $1,210,345 last year and $1,477,735 in 1997.

The return of Arlington also helped racing increase total wagering at all Illinois facilities on live racing and full card simulcasting. During this year's meet, Illinois' average daily handle of $2,716,869 is nine percent higher than compared to last year's $2,523,204 daily average. This year's total of $279,837,492 wagered in Illinois was also higher than the 1997 total of $278,104,251 for the same race dates.

For the first time in 2000, Arlington conducted its meet with a two-tiered purse structure designed to attract top stables to Chicago during the prime summer months of July and August. During the 41-day Summer Festival, overnight purses, including Illinois state-bred awards, averaged more than $278,000 per day. Pre-Festival overnight purses totaled more than $217,000 daily (43 days) while post-Festival overnight purses averaged over $257,000 per day (19 days). Overnight purses for the 103-day meet averaged $244,863 more than $100,000 per day higher than Arlington's 1997 average of $141,773.

Also, starters per race during the meet averaged 8.43 runners up from the 7.8 horses per race at Arlington in 1997.

There were good signs for the Illinois racing circuit as well. More than 25% of the horses stabled at Arlington were new to the Illinois circuit in 2000. In addition, the number of horses claimed per day more than doubled to 3.5 from 1.6 in 1997.

The two-year-old in training sale on June 17 at Arlington yielded record attendance and increased sales prices.

Some highlights of the 2000 Arlington International Racecourse meet:

A throng of 34,243, the second largest crowd since Arlington was rebuilt following a 1985 fire, greeted Arlington's return from a two-year hiatus on Mother's Day (May 14). Mark Guidry, who won the final race here in 1997, picked up right where he left off by capturing the season opener aboard Fire And Icy.

On the track, Arlington held the inaugural Prairie State Festival on June 17, which was broadcast locally by FOX Sports Net Chicago and repeated nationally over the FOX Sports Network. The event, which featured six stakes races restricted to Illinois-registered runners, turned into a big day for trainer Chris Block, who saddled the winners of the Lincoln Heritage (Ioya Two) and White Oak (Davey's Cutlass) handicaps.

Highlighting the Summer Festival was the International Festival of Racing, held on a Saturday (Aug. 19) for the first time, when a Million-day record of $12,504,245 was wagered. The International Festival was topped by the running of Illinois' only three Grade 1 races --- the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, the $500,000 Beverly D. and the Arlington Million, now with a $2 million purse and part of the Emirates World Series Racing Championship.

Jockey Jerry Bailey became the star of the International Festival with wins in two of the three Grade 1 races. The multiple-Eclipse Award winner tallied with Chester House in the Million and Snow Polina in the Beverly D., becoming the only rider to capture both races in the same season. European invader Ciro, with Mick Kinane in the irons, won the Secretariat.

Leading the jockey standings from that first race of 2000, Guidry's 132 wins during the meet nearly doubled the 70 victories posted by runner-up Alfredo Juarez Jr. Guidry, who finished third astride Mula Gula in his first-ever Arlington Million mount, became the 36th jockey to join the 4,000-win club when he piloted Manitowish to victory on July 1.

Two other milestones were recorded by jockeys at Arlington during the meet: Tim Doocy followed in Guidry's footsteps and became the 37th rider to notch 4,000 wins when he scored with Seaside Hero on July 27; and Eduardo Perez earned his 1,000th victory on Aug. 23.

Apprentice jockey Zoe Cadman, who broke her maiden in her first trip to the post aboard Prize and Joy on June 10, was named the meet's "Rising Star" and on Sept. 16 the South African-born rider became the first female jockey to win three races on a single card at Arlington.

Wayne Catalano was the meet's leading trainer, saddling 37 winners to earn his first-ever Arlington crown. In the last race of the meet, owner Frank C. Calabrese's H.V.A.C. Genius won to place his owner in a tie with the Lothenbach Stable of Robert J. Lothenbach as the top owners of the meet with 24 victories each.

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Arlington 2000

NJC/Hawthorne 1999

Arlington 1997


May 14 Sept 30, 2000

May 14 Sept 30, 1999

May 14 Sept 30, 1997

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Illinois Full Card Simulcast (ITW & OTB)




On Live Races

out of Illinois




On Live Race

All Sources











Illinois Full Card Simulcast (ITW & OTB)




On Live Races

Out of Illinois




On Live Races

All Sources











Avg. Daily








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