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Contact: Dan Leary
ARLINGTON PARK RAISES PURSES FOR REMAINDER OF 2004 MEET INCREASE DUE TO SUCCESS OF SUMMER FESTIVAL OF RACING
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 21, 2004) -- Arlington Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Racing Secretary Frank Gabriel Jr. announced Saturday that overnight purses will be slightly increased, by an average of between 3 and 5 percent, for the 21 racing days remaining during the track's 2004 race meet beginning Wednesday, Aug. 25. All overnight races will increase in value by $1,000 and any overnight handicap purse will be boosted by $2,000 per race.
"Higher purses, larger fields and good weather have all contributed to increases in attendance and handle during Arlington's Summer Festival of Racing," explained Gabriel. "We are pleased that this success will allow us to give back more to the horsemen through increased purses during the last four weeks of our meet."
Since 2000, Arlington Park has utilized a two-tiered purse structure, offering higher purses during its Summer Festival of Racing, which this year encompasses 36 race days from Wednesday, July 21 through Monday, Sept. 6. The highlight of the Summer Festival is International Festival of Racing Day that includes Illinois' only three Grade I stakes: the Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat Stakes.
This year's International Festival, run on Saturday, Aug. 14, set an all-time record with total, all-sources handle on Arlington Park's 12-race card of $17,912,506. That figure shattered the previous Festival record of $15,851,625, established in 2002, by $2,060,881.
In addition, attendance at Arlington Park on Million Day was 30,414, the largest non-Breeders' Cup crowd since the 1991 Arlington Million.
For the first time since 1991, the Arlington Million, along with the Beverly D., showcased Arlington Park and Illinois racing to a live, national network television audience on ABC Sports. Internationally, races were also watched and wagered on in Canada and Europe (England, France, Germany, Switzerland and Monaco).
Arlington Park, the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill., is running a 96-day meet in 2004 from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, Sept. 19. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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