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Arlington to Run 22 Stakes in 2011 Worth a Robust $4.3 Million

| Churchill Downs Communications | 04/26/2011 #

The International Festival of Racing, featuring the 29th  running of the Grade I Arlington Million, tops a 2011 schedule that includes 22 stakes races and two overnight stakes races worth more than $4.3 million during 86 days of racing at Arlington Park from Friday, May 6 through Sunday, Sept. 25.  The schedule needs to be approved by the Illinois Racing Board at its January meeting.

Arlington's International Festival of Racing will be on Saturday, Aug. 13 and features three Grade I stakes scheduled to be run over Arlington’s internationally acclaimed turf course – the $1,000,000 Arlington Million for 3-year-olds & older; the $750,000 Beverly D. for fillies & mares, 3-years-old & older; and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds.

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 streamlined schedule features several “big event” days that combine multiple stakes races onto a single card.

The first of these days is scheduled for Saturday, May 28 and will feature two $100,000 stakes races – the Grade III $100,000 Arlington Matron, for fillies and mares at a mile and an eighth on Polytrack, and the $100,000 Arlington Classic, the first leg of the Mid-America Triple for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

One other added-money race on the May calendar is the Grade III $100,000 Hanshin Cup for older horses at one mile over Polytrack, which will be run Saturday, May 21.

The June stakes slate is highlighted by the June 25 Prairie State Festival.  The 12th annual showcase for Illinois-registered horses includes six $100,000 stakes for horses bred and/or foaled in Illinois.

On July 9, Million Preview Day, scheduled five weeks prior to the International Festival of Racing, includes major prep races for three International Festival events.  The Grade III $150,000 Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep race for the Arlington Million while the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap plays the same role for the Beverly D., and the Grade II $200,000 American Derby, which is also the second leg of the Mid-America Triple, leads into the Secretariat Stakes.

As has been the case for each of the last two years, the top three finishers in each of the Preview Day stakes races will receive automatic starting berths with entry and start fees waived in the counterpart race during the International Festival of Racing.

Also to be run in July are the 2011 renewals of the Grade III $100,000 Chicago Handicap, a seven-furlong main track race won the last two years by 2009 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint heroine Informed Decision; the $100,000 Arlington Sprint, a 5 ½-furlong turf dash won last year by eventual Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint victor Chamberlain Bridge; and the Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes Stakes at a mile and a half on the turf.  The Chicago Handicap is slated for Sunday, July 3 with the Sprint scheduled to run less than two weeks later on Saturday, July 16, followed by the Stars and Stripes on Saturday, July 23.

Two-year-olds will be featured on Saturday, Sept. 10 when Arlington presents the Grade III $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity for 2-year-old colts & geldings at one mile on Polytrack and the $150,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on the main track.

Two additional stakes race are scheduled for the meet’s final month – the Grade III $100,000 Washington Park Handicap for older horses at a mile and an eighth on the main track on Saturday, Sept. 3 and the Grade III $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and an eighth on the turf, which will be run on Saturday, Sept. 17.

In addition, the two Illinois Owners’ stakes races for horses owned by Illinois residents, which were run as $100,000 stakes last year will instead be run this year as $50,000 overnight races and will be held on Friday, August 12 – the day before the International Festival of Racing.

Click here for the complete 2011 Arlington Park stakes schedule.