|Arlington Park news release
Contact: Dan Leary
ARLINGTON TO RUN 27 STAKES IN 2004 WORTH MORE THAN $5.6 MILLION
Arlington Million and the International Festival of Racing Top Lucrative Slate
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Feb. 5, 2004) -- The International Festival of Racing featuring the 22nd running of the Grade I Arlington Million tops a 2004 schedule that includes 27 stakes races worth $5,625,000 during 96 days of racing from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, Sept. 19. The announcement was made Thursday pending approval of the Illinois Racing Board at its March meeting.
"Our International Festival of Racing, featuring the Arlington Million on Aug. 14, along with Million Preview Day on July 24 and the Prairie State Festival for Illinois-bred horses on June 26 will continue as our major event days in 2004," said Arlington Park Executive Vice President of Racing Operations and Racing Secretary Frank Gabriel Jr. "In addition, we will run our two premier events for 2-year-olds -- the Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Lassie -- together on our closing day, Sept. 19.
"The Mid-America Triple anchors a strong schedule of races for 3-year-old turf horses," Gabriel added. "The series begins with the Arlington Classic on July 3, continues with the American Derby on July 24 and concludes with the Secretariat on Aug. 14."
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. Stakes for fillies & mares, 3-years-old & up; and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds. Last year's Festival featured a record 13 international horses, including Million victor Sulamani, competing in the three races.
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 purse of the Beverly D. was increased by $50,000 for its 2004 renewal. The Million is part of the World Racing Championships Ltd.
Five other stakes races received purse boosts for 2004 including three races that are now part of the Breeders' Cup Stakes program. The Grade II Arlington Classic, to be run July 3, and the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes, a turf race for 3-year-old fillies scheduled for Sept. 18, each was raised by $25,000 from 2003 to $200,000.
The Grade III Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks (formerly the Singapore Plate), for 3-year-old fillies on Aug. 21, and the Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, for older horses to be run one week later, each received a $50,000 enhancement from the Breeders' Cup Fund and are now worth $150,000 apiece to Breeders' Cup nominees. In addition, the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity will be worth $200,000, which includes $50,000 from the Breeders' Cup Fund.
Million Preview Day, scheduled for July 24 three weeks prior to the International Festival of Racing, has been adjusted to include major prep races for all three International Festival events. The Grade III $250,000 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.
New to Million Preview Day for 2004 is the Grade II $250,000 American Derby, which leads into the Secretariat Stakes. In past years, the $100,000 Round Table, a dirt race for 3-year-olds, was part of the Million Preview Day card but that race will be held one week earlier in 2004, on July 17.
Also returning is the fifth 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 26.
Other major stakes races in 2004 include the Grade III $200,000 Stars & Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf for older horses on Sunday, July 4; and the Grade II $350,000 Washington Park Handicap, the meet's richest main track race, on Saturday, July 31. Last year's Washington Park was won by Perfect Drift, who won three other graded stakes in 2003 including the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs and was sent off as one of the favorites in the Grade I $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park.
The complete 2004 Arlington Park stakes schedule is attached below.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- will run a 96-day meet in 2004 from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, Sept. 19. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates seven off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. On Feb. 21, 2004, Arlington Park will open an eighth Trackside OTB at The Inferno in South Beloit, Ill. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.