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|Arlington Park news release
Contact: Graham Ross
ARLINGTON PARK OPENS 2005 SEASON ON FRIDAY, MAY 13
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (May 11, 2005) -- Thoroughbred racing returns to Arlington Park for its 78th season on Friday, May 13, at 3 p.m. for the first of 94 days of racing that will continue at the northwestern Chicago oval through Sunday, Sept. 18, 2005.
Once again, the centerpiece of Arlington's season will be the one-day International Festival of Racing, this year scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13. The International Festival will showcase the 23rd running of the Grade I Arlington Million, run at a mile and a quarter over Arlington's world famous turf course. The Arlington Million has attracted champion grass runners from all over the world since its inception, and is one of a series of races run internationally that will make up this year's World Racing Championship.
The Grade I Beverly D., with a purse of $750,000 as the sister race to the Arlington Million, is restricted to the world's best grass running fillies and mares. The Beverly D. will observe its 16th running as part of the one-day Festival, while completing the troika of Illinois' only three Grade I races will be the 28th renewal of the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, limited to 3-year-old turf specialists of international caliber.
The Secretariat is the final leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple, which commences with the Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve on July 2, and continues with the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's on July 23.
Other major event days to make up Arlington's 2005 stakes schedule worth more than $5.3 million 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 Arlington's two premier events for 2-year-olds -- the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity and the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Lassie -- are run.
Among the list of continuing customer service improvements at Arlington this season will be the new "Get In The Game" Center in the Park Area. As an expansion of Arlington's interactive "Get In The Game" program begun in 2004, a new "Get In The Game" Center has been built to provide a Thoroughbred racing information center for fans enjoying the various weekend entertainments offered.
The re-focus on customer services at Arlington in 2005 includes additional training for all Arlington Park and Levy (food and beverage) employees, an increase in the number of Guest Services Wagering Hosts, bilingual mutuel tellers and a multilingual Guest Relations staff member.
Also among customer services improvements at Arlington this season will be a redesigned Web site to complement the live, customer-friendly experience provided by a visit to Arlington Park. The new site presents rich content on live racing, breaking news and special events in a very user-friendly format.
Improved weekend highlights begin on Friday afternoons from May 13-Sept. 16 with live music from top local bands and Miller Lite specials. If a guest joins Club Miller Lite and comes back often enough, he or she can earn a 2006 Arlington Park season pass, baseball tickets and all new Miller Lite merchandise with an increase in the number of rewards for frequent visitors.
On Saturdays there will be an expansion of the Bud Light Summer Bash & BBQ that made its debut last year. In 2005, the promotion begins Saturday, May 28 and has been expanded from eight to 15 weeks. Barbeque specials will be made available each Saturday in the Park Area. Like last year, top local bands will be featured each week.
Weekend events will also include Pepsi Family Day presented by the Daily Herald on Sundays once again, as well as Arlington Park's Junior Jockey Club: back for its fourth season. The Junior Jockey Club has a schedule of events to introduce children to the majesty of the Thoroughbred and the pageantry of horse racing.
Also in order to meet customer demand, Arlington Park has constructed 34 new boxes to replace grandstand reserve seating, a new enlarged specialty suite, and a new wager: the Guaranteed Turf Trifecta with a guaranteed $100,000 gross pool, will be available for each race run on turf every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Other wagering improvements for the 2005 season include changes to the minimum wager for Daily Double and superfecta bets.
It should also be noted that Arlington Park completed construction on two new residential buildings for backstretch employees at a cost of more than $4 million, and that a new Backstretch Council has been formed jointly between Arlington Park and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to oversee life on the backstretch. In addition, an agreement has been reached with School District 214 Community Education to run children's summer educational and recreation programs for children of backstretch employees.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- is running 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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