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Contact: Dan Leary
ARLINGTON CONCLUDES 2005 SEASON WITH INCREASES IN TOTAL HANDLE AND AVERAGE DAILY ATTENDANCE
WHILE AVERAGE DAILY ON-TRACK WAGERING AND OVERALL ATTENDANCE DIP SIGHTLY
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (September 21, 2005) -- The 94-day, 2005 Arlington Park race meet -- run from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, Sept. 18, 2005 -- concluded with a 0.8 percent increase in total handle and a 0.5 percent increase in average daily attendance compared to the corresponding totals from the track's 96-day meet in 2004. On track, average daily handle decreased by 0.8 percent while total attendance, over two less racing dates, slipped by 1.6 percent compared to a year ago.
Total handle from all sources for the 94-day meet was $405,396,420, a 0.8 percent increase from last year's total of $402,308,299 wagered over 96 days in 2004. In 2005, the average daily total handle of $4,312,728 surpassed last year's average of $4,190,711 by $122,017 per day, an increase of 2.9 percent.
On track, a total of $54,070,047 was wagered at Arlington Park during the 94-day meet, $1,582,411 and 2.8 percent less than the 96-day total of $55,652,458 during 2004. Average daily wagering decreased by 0.8 percent from $579,713 in 2004 to $575,213 this year, a daily decrease of $4,500.
In 2005, total attendance during the 94-day meet was 715,023, a 1.6 percent decrease from the 2004 total of 726,923 over two more days. Average daily attendance for the 2005 season rose to 7,607 compared with 7,572 in 2004. This is the fourth consecutive year that Arlington Park has shown an increase in average daily attendance.
Total average daily purses paid during the 2005 meet amounted to $257,724, a 6.1 percent decrease of $16,837 compared to daily average purses of $274,561 in 2004. The average number of starters per race of 7.98 represented a 3.3 percent decrease from the 2004 meet average of 8.25 starters per race.
On the track, Mrs. John Magnier's Powerscourt, with Kieren Fallon aboard, avenged his Arlington Million disqualification from one year ago with an emphatic three-length victory in this year's renewal of Arlington's signature race.
The Million is one of three Grade I races that comprise the International Festival of Racing, held this year on Aug. 13. This year's Festival attracted a crowd of 28,312.
In the other Festival headliners, Martin S. Schwartz' Angara launched a courageous rally in the center of the course to win the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes by a neck over Megahertz. Gary Stevens rode the British-bred filly in the sister race to the Arlington Million. Brant Laue's Gun Salute, sat a perfect stalking trip in third behind co-pacesetters English Channel and Purim, then took command in the stretch to capture the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths with Cornelio Velasquez in the irons.
Other notable performances this season included Velasquez' sweep of the trio of graded stakes that comprise Arlington's Million Preview Day card -- the Panama-born rider captured the Grade II $250,000 American Derby aboard Gun Salute, the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap astride David E. Garner's Cool Conductor and the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap with Haras Santa Maria de Aras S. A.'s Noisette -- and Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift winning the Grade II $300,000 Washington Park Handicap for the second time in three years.
During the 2005 Arlington Park meet, owner Frank C. Calabrese earned his sixth consecutive title as the meet's leading owner with 64 wins, more than five times the total of runner-up Nancy A. Vanier, who posted 11 victories.
Trainer Wayne Catalano beat his own single-season mark of 64 wins set in 2002 with 69 trips to the winner's circle. Chris Block and Christine Janks tied for second with 31 wins apiece.
Shaun Bridgmohan was the meet's leading jockey with 132 victories in his first season of competition at Arlington. Longtime Chicago-based reinsman Chris Emigh was second in the standings with 82 wins.
Trainer Shannon Ritter was named the meet's "Rising Star" and Arlington's all-time leading trainer Richard Hazelton was honored with the track's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- completed its 94-day meet in 2005 on 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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