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Contact: David Zenner
ARLINGTON TO RUN 25 STAKES IN 2005 WORTH MORE THAN $5.3 MILLION
Arlington Million and the International Festival of Racing Top Lucrative Slate
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Jan. 11, 2005) -- The International Festival of Racing, featuring the 23rd running of the Grade I Arlington Million tops a 2005 schedule that includes 25 stakes races worth $5,325,000 during 94 days of racing at Arlington Park from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, Sept. 18. The announcement was made Tuesday following the approval of the Illinois Racing Board at its monthly meeting.
"The International Festival of Racing on Saturday, Aug. 13, featuring the Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat Stakes with more than $2.1 million in purses, will be the centerpiece of our 2005 stakes schedule," said Arlington Park Executive Vice President of Racing Operations and Racing Secretary Frank Gabriel Jr.
"Other major event days include the Prairie State Festival for Illinois-bred horses on Saturday, June 25, Million Preview Day on Saturday, July 23 and the final day of the meet on Sunday, Sept. 18 when we will run our two premier events for 2-year-olds -- the Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Lassie," added Gabriel. "This year's Mid-America Triple will again provide a showcase for top 3-year-old turf horses in the Arlington Classic on July 2, the American Derby on July 23 and the Secretariat on Million Preview Day.
Arlington's International Festival of Racing features Illinois' only three Grade I stakes, all scheduled for turf -- the $1,000,000 Arlington Million for 3-year-olds & up; the $750,000 Beverly D. for fillies & mares, 3-years-old & up; and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds.
The Million and Secretariat are both run at North America's classic distance of a mile and a quarter while the Beverly D. is contested at a mile and three-sixteenths. The Million is part of the World Racing Championships Ltd.
The Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Lassie is the only stakes race to receive a boost in its purse for 2005. The $50,000 in Breeders' Cup funds previously allocated to the Arlington Oaks, which is reduced to $100,000 for this year, has been added to the purse of the Lassie, which will now be worth $150,000.
In total, four stakes races had their purses reduced by $50,000 apiece. Besides the Arlington Oaks, the Grade III Arlington Classic, run for $200,000 in 2004, will be worth $150,000 this year; the Grade III Arlington Handicap was cut from $250,000 to $200,000 for the 2005 renewal; and the Grade II Washington Park Handicap was reduced to $300,000 from $350,000.
Million Preview Day, scheduled for July 23 three weeks prior to the International Festival of Racing, includes major prep races for all three International Festival events. The Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep race for the Arlington Million while the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap carries the same role for the Beverly D., and the Grade II $250,000 American Derby leads into the Secretariat Stakes.
Also returning, with one change, is the sixth annual Prairie State Festival, Arlington's annual showcase for Illinois-bred horses featuring six $75,000-added stakes races with total purses expected to be more than $500,000 on Saturday, June 25. The Cardinal Handicap for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on turf has been renamed the Black Tie Affair Handicap beginning this year.
Other major stakes races in 2005 include the Grade III $200,000 Stars & Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf for older horses on Sunday, July 3; and the Washington Park Handicap, the meet's richest main track race, on Saturday, July 31. The complete 2005 Arlington Park stakes schedule is attached below.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- will run a 94-day meet in 2005 from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, Sept. 18. 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 Lucky's featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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