|Arlington Park news release
Contact: Dan Leary
ARLINGTON TO RUN 29 STAKES WORTH MORE THAN $5.5 MILLION IN 2003
Return to Traditional May Opening Following Breeders' Cup Year
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Jan. 21, 2003) -- Following two years of conducting a June through October racing season, Arlington Park will return to its traditional May opening and a schedule that includes 29 stakes with $5,575,000 in purses during 104 days of racing from May 9 to Sept. 27 in 2003. The announcement was made following approval of the Illinois Racing Board on Tuesday.
"After hosting the most successful Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships ever last October, we are extremely pleased to return to our May opening that includes Mother's Day, a great Arlington tradition, and adds Preakness Day to our early season schedule," said Arlington Park Executive Vice President of Racing Operations Frank Gabriel.
"Our International Festival of Racing Day, featuring the Arlington Million on Aug. 16, along with Million Preview Day on July 26 and the June 21 Prairie State Festival will return as major event days on the 2003 Arlington schedule," added Gabriel. "In addition, we will run our two premier two-year-old races -- the Arlington-Washington Futurity and Arlington-Washington Lassie -- together like last year, on closing day, Sept. 27."
Arlington's International Festival of Racing, featuring Illinois' only three Grade I stakes, all scheduled for turf -- the $1,000,000 Arlington Million for three-year-olds and up, the $700,000 Beverly D. for fillies and mares three and up, and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for three-year-olds -- will be run on Saturday, Aug. 16. On the day before the Million, Friday, Aug. 15, the $75,000 Estrapade Handicap for older fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth on turf has been added to the International Festival of Racing Week's agenda.
For the third consecutive year, "Million Preview Day," will feature the $250,000 Arlington Handicap (Grade III) for older horses, the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (GIII) for fillies and mares, three-years-old and up, and the $100,000 Round Table Stakes for three-year-olds, on Saturday, July 26. Also returning is the fourth annual Prairie State Festival with six $75,000-added stakes for Illinois-breds and total purses expected to be more than $500,000 on Saturday, June 21.
The second running of the $100,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap for older horses at a mile and an eighth, which was run on Breeders' Cup Day last year, returns as the first stake of the 2003 slate on the meet's second day, Saturday, May 10. The only new stake in 2003, the $75,000 The Real Delight Stakes for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs, will be on Saturday, May 31.
The $150,000-added Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile for older horses on turf, which was part of Arlington's Preview Weekend at the Park a year ago, will be the Father's Day feature on Sunday, June 15.
On Sunday, Aug. 24, the 11th running of the American Quarter Horse Association's Windy City Dash returns as a Grade 3 stake with a $50,000 guaranteed purse.
The 2003 meet concludes on Saturday, Sept. 27 with a pair of Breeders' Cup prep races to be run at a mile for two-year-olds, the $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity (Grade III) and the $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie for fillies.
The complete 2003 Arlington Park stakes schedule is attached below.
Arlington Park -- host to the record-breaking 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- will run a 104-day meet in 2003 from Friday, May 9 through Saturday, Sept. 27. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates six off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities - Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.