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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/21/09)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


It’s going to be a particularly festive weekend at Arlington Park – beginning Friday with the first Miller Lite Party in the Park featuring the U2 tribute band Elevation – and concluding on Memorial Day with the first of only two Monday racing programs conducted at Arlington this season.

More important to Thoroughbred racing fans, however, is the fact that Arlington will offer four of its traditionally highlighted stakes packaged together Saturday as the American 1000 Guineas Festival. A Family Day on Sunday will feature two other stakes races.

Friday’s twilight racing program has a first race post time of 2:30 pm, with the band Elevation playing its first song on the Miller Lite Stage in the Park Area at the same time.

However, racing fans can also enjoy a “Learn to Win” Handicapping Seminar Friday offered by Arlington’s morning line maker Joe Kristufek with the noted local handicapper appearing in the West Kiosk between 4-5 pm and the East Kiosk/Park Area from 5:30 pm-6:30 pm.

Saturday’s 75th running of the $150,000 Arlington Classic is one of Arlington’s oldest stakes races and also serves as the first leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple. Enhanced for the first time this season by a $500,000 bonus for the owner of any turf-favoring 3-year-old that sweeps the sophomore series, Saturday’s Classic has attracted its strongest field of the decade.

Observing only its second running Saturday is the weekend’s richest race – the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas – a one-mile turf test for 3-year-old fillies that is patterned after 1000 Guineas races in Europe, South America and the Orient – two of which have been contested for more than 100 years.

Saturday’s $150,000 Arlington Matron, the local oval’s main event each summer for older fillies and mares, is a Grade III event that has attracted last year’s winner – Courtlandt Farm’s Indescribable – who will be seeking to become the first mare to win back-to-back renewals in 34 years.

Also on Saturday, Arlington’s Grade III Hanshin Cup, with its $100,000 purse, has attracted its winner of a year ago. Should that horse – Jim Tafel’s Coragil Cat – repeat this weekend, he would be the first horse to do so in the last eight years.

However, this Hanshin Cup has also attracted Robert Yagos’ Spotsgone, winner of the 2007 renewal. No horse has won this race twice but not in consecutive seasons since Harry Wells’ Equifox took the inaugural running in 1941 as a 4-year-old and came back to win it again in 1945 as an 8-year-old.

Other racing activities Saturday include an appearance by noted turfwriter Karen Johnson as the guest in the first of Arlington’s “Visiting Expert Series,” scheduled for 11:45 am in the Starting Gate Theatre.

Scott McMannis hosts the handicapping seminar, which includes a Q&A session, and Ms. Johnson remaining on hand to autograph copies of her latest book “The Training Game.”

Sunday’s 11-race day features two stakes restricted to horses registered in the Illinois program – the $50,000 Zen Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, and the $50,000 Your Ladyship Stakes for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. Both races will be contested at seven furlongs over Arlington’s Polytrack course.


As in past seasons, Sunday will be Family Day at Arlington Park, and this Sunday families may enjoy activities presented by the DuPage Children’s Museum. Hands-on activities for all families will include the museum’s Build it Big Window Art, PinScreens, and make-it-and-take-it activities.

Pony rides and a petting zoo will also be offered Sunday in the Park Area.

On Memorial Day Monday, there will be a special Family Day program offered, highlighted by Brookfield Zoo animals on exhibit in the Park Area.

Also on Monday, the band “Hey Jimmy” will be on hand playing rock music on the Miller Lite Stage.

The only other Monday racing program offered at Arlington Park this season is scheduled on Labor Day, Sept. 7.

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